Fun, energetic and entertaining are all descriptors that do not describe a zombie, but they are suitable in describing Andrew McMahon In the Wilderness‘ new album “Zombie on Broadway.”
This is the second album released by Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, but he has been making music for a while now. In fact, McMahon has been around the indie-alternative rock scene for years. If you do not recognize his name, you might recognize a couple the bands he has been with like Something Corporate or Jack’s Mannequin.
While he is a vocalist and pianist, he has had plenty of experience writing and composing songs, even contributing to the NBC series Smash. McMahon’s solo work really took off when he released the track “Cecillia and the Satellite” in 2014 for his daughter. This is where we first got the use of the moniker “In the Wilderness,” and shortly after he released his self-titled album. Three years later, we finally have a follow up with “Zombies On Broadway.”
“Zombies On Broadway” is an 11-track record that clocks in at around 39 minutes in length. Front to back, this album is full of energy. It is easy to lose yourself to the music and start moving along to the beat or even singing along to the songs. Either way, compared to the self-titled album, “Zombies On Broadway” is on a whole other level. We get a lot more synthetic elements and fast paced tracks that are well mixed.
Musically, there is a lot to be admired here. McMahon took what worked well in his self-titled album and made it better. Nothing feels out of place or repetitive. A few tracks like “So Close” or “Dead Man’s Dollar” sound like they belong in a club. As for the piano, while it is what leads some of the tracks, there are instances where it feels like it takes the backseat, and you forget that it is there. This is more prominent in tracks “Walking In My Sleep” when the chorus kicks in and you have drums and clapping. However, when the piano does come in it really shines, and that is expected of McMahon.
Lyrically, there are plenty of tracks where the message sticks with you. For example, “Dead Man’s Dollar” is about trying to build a life for the ones you love, and “Fire Escape” is about what we go through for love. Needless to say, there is a lot about the idea of love, and it does not feel cliché with how grand the lyrics are.
The record is then rounded out and finishes with “Birthday Song” which shows McMahon’s skills as a musician, and shows why this record could belong on the stage. In every way, this record is geared towards a performance, which could be attributed to his former theatre writing.
It is important to note that this is not like the self-titled album in every way. There is plenty here that keeps it fresh, and will keep you coming back again and again. With each listen, there is always a new line or something that really connects with you.
Should you listen to it?: Yes
Maybe you remember when “Cecillia and the Satellite” took over the airwaves years ago. Maybe you are noticing that “Fire Escape” is starting to do the same thing. You need to know that there is more with than just “Fire Escape” to enjoy on this record. It is just a small piece in this grand puzzle that puts together this show. Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness really delivered a great example of the perfect follow-up album with “Zombies on Broadway.” He shot for the moon and delivered.