The side project is an established rock phenomenon. Distanced from the bread-and-butter band, one can engage in pursuits that might not fit the profile of the mother-ship group. The late Jerry Garcia played bluegrass banjo with Old & In the Way, and The Mekons' Jon Langford played big rock riffs with the Three Johns. Now, Something Corporate's Andrew McMahon gives free rein to his inner Ben Folds/Randy Newman with Jack's Mannequin. Away from Something Corporate's punk-edged pop, McMahon wove Everything in Transit, a sweetly tuneful, refined (à la Newman, Beatles, Beach Boys) concept piece about Venice Beach life, grappling with "you can't go home again" conundrums, while Tommy Lee's drums (yes, that Tommy Lee) give it that disheveled L.A.-rock thump. Though don't expect to see the Crüe member on stage -- this is McMahon's show, damn it.
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