Inspired by such theme albums as The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, Everything in Transit weaves an autobiographical tale reflected in the storybook written into its liner notes. It begins with the laid-back, bohemian California mood of “ Holiday from Real,” with McMahon coming home and feeling like a visitor in his own world. “The Mixed Tape” offers bursts of punk-flavored riffs along with lyrics such as “I read your letter, the one you left when you broke into my house... where are you now?” segueing into the wistful “Lonely for Her.” The album’s emotional duality is shown in the hopeful and upbeat “I’m Ready,” followed by the sullen “Kill the Messenger.”
McMahon’s tribute to The Beach Boys is best heard on the sad-yet-sunny “Miss Delaney,” an electronica-flavored pop nugget with a synthesized theremin reminiscent of “Good Vibrations.” The disco flagellation of “Bruised” tumbles “Into the Airwaves,” McMahon’s otherworldly tenor drawing a fatalistic analogy: “I am slipping through, I am slipping into the airwaves / You are slipping through my fingers and into the airwaves.” Everything in Transit eases into acceptance with its final triptych of songs: the ballad “Rescued,” McMahon’s examination of his place in the world in “Made for Each Other,” and its denouement “You Can Breathe.”
McMahon has breathed the distinct smell of success since the 2001 debut of Audioboxer by the alternative-rock band he co-founded out of high school. Subsequent albums (Leaving Through the Window and North) proved the band’s growth potential as well as the appeal of McMahon, whom MTV called “the good-looking, shaggy-haired, thick-framed-glasses-wearing frontman.” This past year, in addition to a more expansive tour schedule, Something Corporate was nominated for Band of the Year at the 2004 College Music Awards.
And what does Andrew McMahon hope to accomplish with Jack’s Mannequin and Everything in Transit? A chance to vocalize a difficult period in his life, and to broaden his musical landscape. He also looks to bring fresh energy back to Something Corporate and to draw greater attention to the band. Given the musical density of this side project and his rise as a talented and iconoclastic performer, there’s no doubt Andrew McMahon will be a magnet for audience attention no matter the musical platform.