The alternative rock couldn't help but watch as Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness sat at his piano and delivered some great tunes in his debut record. He's back with his sophomore effort Zombies On Broadway, and it sadly doesn't have the same effect.
What Zombies On Broadway does have, however, are anthems. Pretty much every song on this record has a very anthemic vibe to it somewhere. From the spoken word verses of opening track 'Brooklyn, You're Killing Me' to the pulsing choruses of 'Love and Great Buildings,' the mood for wanting to dance and sing along to these big moments increasing every time. Well, maybe not every time, but for the first few songs at least.
The problem with this record is just that - every song is an anthem. There's very little variation in the record, with everything sounding the same. The glowing verses of 'So Close' not only try to emulate the success of 'Closer' by The Chainsmokers, but are also pretty much the example of what you'll hear everywhere else on the record. The same mood isn't necessarily the problem this record has, but the idea and structure of every song is nearly identical.
On top of that, everything's very average. There really isn't much that stands out musically on this record. McMahon's signature piano vibe is gone from this record and has been replaced with some very average (and safe) pop sounds. Even when there's moments that sound promising, like closing song 'Birthday Song,' something ends up bringing it down. In this piano ballad's case, it's not just the fact that it's entirely predictable in the context of the rest of the record, but the lyrics are just very, very odd and don't really share the same mood as the instrumental.
Zombies On Broadway isn't a bad album, just a very average one. Andrew McMahon delivered very average anthems and seemingly abandoned the elements of his debut that made it unique. There's nothing in this album that stands out, and it gets old pretty quick. Is it success with his debut that prompted a more approachable sound, or is it the product of rushing the music? Regardless, let's hope he draws from his roots in the next one.
Favorite Track: Don't Speak For Me (True)
Least Favorite Tracks: Island Radio, Love and Great Buildings
Rating: 60 / 100
Buy or listen to Zombies On Broadway here: