Review: Andrew McMahon Sifts Through His Past in ‘Tilt at the Wind No More’

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
Tilt at the Wind No More
3.5 out of 5 stars

Videos by American Songwriter

There have been many musical iterations of Andrew McMahon. For two decades, the singer/songwriter has had an enviable pedigree in the realms of alt-rock, indie-pop, and pop-punk. Frontman of the 2000s-era group Something Corporate and figurehead of the pop-fueled outfit Jack’s Mannequin, various musical endeavors have led the artist to his latest evolution – Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness.

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness is back with a fourth studio album, Tilt at the Wind No More. The synth-riddled, hook-filled new record is personal and introspective. At another turning point in his life – now 40 years old, a husband and father – McMahon’s album is a look back at his storied past before he can look to the future.

‘Tilt At The Wind No More’ album cover / Courtesy of Press Here Publicity

Tilt at the Wind No More opens with the swelling “Lying On the Hood of Your Car,” a buzzing ode to youth met with twinkling keys and a heart-racing beat. In a boyish tenor, McMahon sings of the infinite feeling of being young, wild, and free.

Buoyant and blooming, that sprightly sound is threaded through the entire album as each song explores the past. Adolescence squeaks through the artist’s vocals, illustrating the hope and excitement, the fragility and uncertainties that come with youth.

Radio-ready hits abound in the record with tracks like the thumping “Skywriting,” the stinging “New Friends,” and the zingy “Last Rites.” The effort is rife with singable hooks and bop-along beats; however, where the album is attention-grabbing one song, it is nearly forgettable the next. Some tracks roar to be noticed, others whisper to be heard like the light, wispy “Little Disaster” and the distant “Built To Last.”

As the albums come to a close, McMahon steps back from the synth-fueled theatrics with the piano-driven “Nobody Tells You When You’re Young.” The wounding tune is a heart-to-heart with the inner child, an apology for all the heartache and the letdowns. It would have been a mic drop of a closing song if it had not been backed up by the bright, optimistic final track, “Smoke & Ribbons.”

Overall, McMahon’s Tilt at the Wind No More is a journey with plenty of ups, but also downs. The reflective album demands listeners to take a look inward, to explore their own paths and how they got to where they are today.

Photo by Lindsey Byrnes / Courtesy of Press Here Publicity

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