The last time Andrew McMahon lived in New York, he was leading his band, Jack’s Mannequin, when he was diagnosed with leukemia. For his second album as Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, he wanted to reframe some of those memories, resulting in the new collection “Zombies on Broadway” (Concord) and its mix of emotions.

The first single, “Fire Escape,” is a string of New York images that walk the line between danger and excitement held together by having someone special to share them with. It’s upbeat and cinematic, much like AMITW’s smash “Cecilia and the Satellite” from a few years back.

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However, much of “Zombies on Broadway” is an artistic stretch for McMahon, starting with the poetic blur in the verses of “Brooklyn, You’re Killing Me,” where he seems to explain how he coped with his diagnosis. “So Close” starts as a throwback to his more indie-rocking days with Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin before it settles into a very current dance groove.

That sense of freedom makes “Zombies on Broadway” come to life, especially in the more danceable numbers like “Island Radio.”