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Review: Andrew McMahon – The Pop Underground (EP)

Find out what we made of the new solo release from former Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin frontman, Andrew McMahon, here!

Andrew McMahon - The Pop UndergroundArtist: Andrew McMahon
Release: The Pop Underground (EP)
Release Date: Out Now

Most of you will probably be more familiar with Andrew McMahon as lead singer of Something Corporate and maybe a couple more as the voice behind Jack’s Mannequin. When the latter of these decided to part ways back in early 2012, McMahon carried on writing. The result is the four track EP; ‘The Pop Underground‘.

In all honesty, this is not a million miles away from what we are used to hearing from the highly talented McMahon. Kicking his solo career off is opening track ‘Synthesia‘ – a synth fuelled arrangement which immediately begins conjuring up images of space before those first few lyrics: “I saw pictures from the space shuttle/North America at night” are uttered and the artist is unmistakable.

Next up comes another synth-heavy track in the form of ‘Catching Cold‘, the big difference between the two tracks so far is this has a much more somber and deep tone to it compared to the light and airy opener. One of our only criticisms of the EP comes from within this composition itself, the auto-tune seems have been laid on pretty thick here and as any fan of McMahon or his previous work can tell you – this guy has an insanely unique voice, one that doesn’t really need to be tampered with.

Learn To Dance‘ has a much more Jack’s Mannequin-esque feel to it, this time shying away from the synth which seems to have been the main focal point of the EP up to this point and makes a welcome change. Lyrically this is a very intriguing track which takes images of childhood memories and mixes them effortlessly with ideals for the future in a strange but cool juxtaposition.

Rounding off the four piece EP is closer ‘After The Fire‘, leaning heavily on the piano to carry the tune across the three and a half minute piece, this is by far the most upbeat and dance-friendly track of ‘The Pop Underground‘. We dare anyone to listen to this and not at least find yourself nodding along or finger tapping to the beat – its near enough impossible and believe us, we tried! ‘After The Fire‘ is the perfect ending to this taster of what the future holds for McMahon as a solo artist as it invites you to hit the play button all over again.

It may be truthful to admit that McMahon is unlikely to gain a huge amount of new fans with this release – but that is not to say that this is not an incredible piece of audio art. It is most certainly an EP for the fans and if Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin are anything to go by this tried and tested formula will work just as well for McMahon solo as well. Of course this is not a carbon copy of what we are used to – the songwriting has a much more mature and developed essence to it and the experimentation (particularly in terms of synth) is another case of how versatile the man can be.

We have no doubt that these four tracks will sound just a huge live as McMahon‘s already impressive back catalogue does.

8/10

Reviewer: Amy Jones

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