Andrew McMahon has been around for a long time. He’s probably also made songs you listened to obsessively at some point in your life as part of Something Corporate, Jack’s Mannequin, simply Andrew McMahon and, now, Andrew McMahon
in the Wilderness. He has been able to document his life to hundreds of thousands of people in a way very few people get to. This self titled record was recorded around the time his wife grew pregnant and gave birth to their
first child, Cecilia, which marked a big point for both Andrew and his music. Going into the first track ‘Canyon Moon’, it’s almost expected to be full of synthesizers and dance-floor rhythm as his solo EP Synesthesia was, however it takes us back to his poppy roots, with a signature twist. The track incorporates McMahon’s ever present piano and clapping that could see venues all across his upcoming tour stomping their feet and singing along
word for word.

‘Cecilia and the Satellite’ is the lead single released from the record, clearly influenced by his daughter, and had a great reception from those who heard it. The song is grand and beautiful, a summary of McMahon’s life claiming that “for all the things my eyes have seen, the best by far is you”. The singalong chorus really tops the emotional song off and it’s as though you can hear Andrew smiling as his sings about his first born already having
him wrapped around her little finger.

Both ‘Black and White Movies’ and ‘Driving Through a Dream’ pay homage to McMahon’s wife, who often features in his songs. However, Black and White Movies is reminiscent of the past, asking if she’s home, but Driving Through a Dream could be in any timeline of their relationship, asking her to “try to get some sleep, we’ll be driving through a dream”. Both tracks have repetitive lyrics but are overall sweet love songs with heavenly backing
tracks and sugar sweet piano layered throughout. The self produced ‘Rainy Girl’ takes on a whole new tone with an upbeat, smooth piano as his only accompaniment, McMahon’s voice can really shine. The track itself is a love song to his unborn daughter, and how excited he is to meet her. It’s on the same level as ‘Cecilia and the Satellite’ but stripped bare and just as touching.

The record closes with ‘Maps For the Getaway’, which reintroduces those aforementioned synthesizers. It’s a fitting ending track for this record as it talks about his past and how he’s moved forward from that, confidently repeating that “all we have is time”. It’s a song that makes you think of what you were doing this time last year, and how you’ve changed for the better or the worse, either way, all we have is time. Andrew McMahon has been around for a long time, and as you’ve grown, so has he. Nothing has shown that so clearly as this record, outlining his life
experiences and a whole new chapter as a father which has clearly had a massively positive impact on both his life and his music.

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness is out on October 14th through Vanguard Records and the record can be streamed in it’s entirety below.

[rating:4.5]