When Andy McMahon announced he was discontinuing his critically acclaimed project Jack’s Mannequin, hipsters across the planet threw their fedoras to the ground, tore their poorly fitting off-beat garments from their wretched hides and cursed an uncaring sky. Some people decided to be a bit more pragmatic and try to fill the void left by Mr. McMahon, mostly with average-at-best results. Landing firmly within this overwhelmingly ‘meh’ category are Las Vegas natives Avalon Landing and their new album, Reside.
I’m very much a metal head, and I make no apologies for that. What might surprise you is that Jack’s Mannequin is one of my favourite bands of all time. The way that Andrew McMahon flawlessly interwove beautiful melodies with catchy pop hooks that were brought further to life by his brilliant voice and intelligent lyrics set the benchmark for piano-driven pop-rock for the rest of humanity’s existence. The fact that the dude survived cancer, too, just added to the man-crush.
Avalon Landing are heavily influenced by McMahon. Ultimately, however, they just don’t have his sheer talent and knack for composition. The songs are okay, but you just don’t enjoy them as much as you want to. That’s the problem with this album. It’s good, not great, and nothing really feels like it has any conviction. You come away with this sense that they went for the most inoffensive material possible. The band’s promo photo leaves me in no doubt that they’d squelch if I hit any of them.
Look, it’s not a great album. It’s not bad, but it’s not good, either, and that’s even worse. Even the worst albums are at least memorable. Look at Rebecca Black‘s ‘Friday’ YouTube song. It was terrible, but damn it, you could sing it verbatim right here, right now. I’ve listened to this thing five times, and I couldn’t even tell you the track names. It’s not bad, but it’s not good and that’s even worse. It’s soft, inoffensive and ultimately forgettable music.