No dummy

Although Jack’s Mannequin won’t be touring behind a new album this summer, listeners can get excited for fresh tunes at its show Friday at Diamond Ballroom show. The piano-pop group will debut tracks from its upcoming third release, “People and Things” all season long, even if the disc won’t be in hand for a while.

“We just got done doing three weeks of rehearsing really hard. We learned the whole record, so we’ll be playing at least a few a night,” said Andrew McMahon, the group’s leader and chief songwriter. “We’ll trade certain songs from night to night.”

This includes the “stripped-down” acoustic number “Restless Dream,” proving the alternative act’s versatility and growth since its 2004 inception.

“It’s the natural next step,” McMahon said.

But it shouldn’t be too much of a departure for fans acquainted with the artist’s arc, from the snarky, piano-based punk of Something Corporate through the bright, shiny piano pop of early Jack’s Mannequin work. Even within Jack’s discography, McMahon sees variation.

“All of the records have been pretty dissimilar in a sense,” he said, noting that his opinion of the albums is not what’s most interesting to him. “I want to hear what other people would hear in the records.”

But first, people have to hear “People and Things.”

“We’re close to having a timeline,” McMahon said. “Before the end of the year, no doubt. Hopefully late summer or fall.”

When it came time to record, the band worked with Grammy-winning producer Jim Scott (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rolling Stones, Tom Petty) and Rob Cavallo, chairman of Warner Bros. Records. The album sports several contributions from a well-known songwriter McMahon just happens to know: Relient K’s Matt Thiessen.

“He and I did a couple writing sessions together. We were good friends before we did the sessions,” McMahon said. “There were two days in Nashville, and a couple more in L.A. They were super-prolific sessions. It just so happened that I was writing for my record, so we put our heads together.”

Stephen Carradini

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