On a blistering August day, Andrew McMahon — clad in a white T-shirt, baggies and flip flops — concludes his band’s set by jumping on his piano.
It’s hardly normal. But then again, neither is the music of his band, the self-deprecatingly titled Something Corporate, which returns to Tampa Friday for a show at Masquerade in Ybor City.
McMahon and company played on a small stage behind the Sun Dome during last summer’s Tampa Warped Tour stop, surrounded by the likes of pop-punk powerhouses New Found Glory and Good Charlotte.
And yeah, at first listen, Something Corporate’s music isn’t easily discernible from its emo-driven, often whiny, melodramatic counterparts. But McMahon has something most other bands in his pop genre don’t.
He has a little bit of Billy Joel.
One can’t help but notice the similarities between the infectious piano hook at the end of Something Corporate’s “Hurricane” and the Joel’s tinny piano intro in “Miami 2017.”
In “Cavanaugh Park” and “The Astronaut,” McMahon harkens back to his high school days, a la Joel’s references to the Village Green and the Parkway Diner in “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant” (“Cold beer, hot lights, my sweet romantic teenage nights.”).
This in no way should imply that either of those tunes compares to Joel’s classic, but it’s a formula that seems to work.
Bruce Springstein’s “Glory Days,” and more recently John Mayer’s “City of Love,” found success in adolescent reflection.
But that is the irony in many of Something Corporate’s songs. Most members of the band are still practically adolescents themselves. The oldest member is 22. McMahon’s barely two years out of high school.
But their music, nonetheless, is a nice alternative to the mass-produced, mass-marketed pseudo-punk that has a firm grasp on plenty of hormonal teens.
Truth be told, Something Corporate even has something to offer to an older crowd.
While the band’s hormone-driven radio hit “iF yoU C Jordan” may sound like something you’ve heard before, be it from Green Day, Sum41 or Blink 182, other cuts from its MCA/Drive Thru Records debut LP Leaving Through the Window possess a more mature lyrical complexity.
McMahon meddles in eastern philosophy in the catchy “Straw Dog.” He slings together well-constructed metaphors in “I Woke up in a Car” and “Globes and Maps.”
In “Hurricane,” the album’s most complete song, McMahon sings: “You don’t do it on purpose/But you make me shake/Now I count the hours till you wake/With your babies’ breath/Breathe symphonies/Come on sweet catastrophe.”
It seems that in its first commercially produced album, Something Corporate is sending a message that it is determined to not be pigeonholed into the pop-punk industry standard.
Contact Ryan Meehan at firstname.lastname@example.org