Jimmy Eat World


Written by: TL on 08/10/2010 19:09:34

Speaking of bands that reside in the upper echelons of band-hierarchy in my mind (see my previous review of Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs"), how about Jimmy Eat World? When I rank the best bands in existence in my mind, things that weigh heavily are versatility and consistency, with emphasis on the latter. Release two or three good albums and then release one bad one and boom, you take a mighty blow in my internal power rankings. No surprise then, that JEW are one of my personal favourites, having only failed to impress on their '94 début, and since then releasing five different albums under two different lead singers, steadily expanding both their expression and their fanbase while keeping mostly everyone aboard for the trip.

Whoops, make that six different albums, because they just put out "Invented", making a discussion of the band's merits relevant once again. The title of the record is likely to refer to the fact that this is the first album on which the lyrical content is strictly fictional, according to frontman Jim Adkins, who turned to creative writing inspired by artistic photography, admitting that he was generally feeling too content with his own life, for it to provide him with the feelings of adversity that he feels a good song needs.

Do not fret however, because there's nothing artificial about the way the singer/guitarist delivers the stories in the twelve songs on offer on "Invented". In fact, Jimmy Eat World only further strengthen the notion, that empowering songs with emotion has as much to do with restraint as with excess. As such, they employ all the traditional bells, whistles and dynamics in a delightful throwback to the nocturnal soundscape of "Futures" and "Stay On My Side Tonight EP", something I think many will enjoy after the slightly light-hearted tunes of "Chase This Light".

You see, while JEW are often referred to as inspirations for many an up-and-coming pop-rock band (Paramore etc.), what most of the inspired younglings consistently fail to notice, is that while the band's elements certainly belong to pop-rock, their compositions have, sans legendary single "The Middle", never really been light-hearted. Emotions aren't trivialized or cheapened, rather they're romanticized, familiarized and just as the band has you identifying with them, they make that very identification feel almost triumphant.

And that is exactly the kind of magic which "Invented" is but another refined showcase for. Long time fans can reminisce in the recognition of how JEW apply old tricks in new, more mature constellations, while newcomers, if they have ears at all, should marvel at the depth of expression achievable with such simple means. I doubt that this will knock classics like "Clarity" and "Bleed American" off the throne as the perceived best JEW albums, even if guitarist Tom Linton's temporary return to vocal duties on "Action Needs An Audience" nostalgically recalls the urgency of the "Static Prevails" days. That being said though, it should take only a few listens to make people feel that this is something one needs to immerse oneself in, and that it is entirely on par with - if not better than - "Futures" and "Stay On My Side Tonight".

Download: My Best Theory, The Heart Is Hard To Find, Movielike, Stop
For The Fans Of: Mae, Death Cab For Cutie, Biffy Clyro,
Listen: myspace.com/jimmyeatworld

Release Date 28.09.2010
DGC/Interscope Records

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