Album Reviews, Music

Review: Jimmy Eat World – Damage

Consistency as a band is an achievement all on its own and Arizona rockers Jimmy Eat World have remained remarkably consistent through their years together. Now 8 studio albums in, the band have managed to find steady ground when it comes to their output, both in sound and aesthetic appeal. Damage, like its predecessor Invented, is built upon the band’s love for melodic guitar-driven melancholia. It’s all beautiful sounding, yet restrained.

The band’s new found musical foundation is the sound of them turning their amps down from the levels they exhibited on Bleed American, Futures and Chase This Light. Where once there was the distorted, high-tempo frequencies of a “Bleed American”, “Sweetness”, “Pain” and “Big Casino”, there is now the more composed, less frenetic pacing of a “Lean”, “Book of Love”, and the terrific title track “Damage”. It’s not necessarily regression or slowing down, it’s refinement; fine tuning their craft to a cohesion they’ve been hinting at since their opus Clarity.

Lead off single “I Will Steal You Back” is the closest Damage gets to sounding like Futures; equal parts heartstrings and rock-fueled sentimentality. In “Please Say No” and “Damage” we get Jimmy Eat World’s trademark lyrical introspection, with the latter waxing the disconnect between two frayed ends; “Are we only damaging the little we have left? / Both of us swimming in the same polluted mess / Are we too damaged now to possibly connect?” while we’re left again feeling like love has closed the door once again on the previous; “Say anything you will / Except how you’d have me still / Say anything but know / When I go, I go, I go”.

Damages‘ finest moment is perhaps “How’d You Have Me”. The song’s structure, like Chase This Light’s “Firefight”, goes hand in hand with the poetic mistrust of the lyrics and the crescendo building of its music- operatic, and cuts deep; “Only one thing left I wish I knew / how did you have me / and I only got you?” Jim Adkins as acerbic as ever.

“Byebyelove” is one of the album’s most interesting set pieces. The band have never shied away from the grandiose; from the arching beauty of “Goodbye Sky Harbor” and “23” to “Invented”, song’s have been pushed to the limit of both length (the latter two at nearly 8 minutes while “Goodbye Sky Harbor” rests at a cool 16 minutes long). “Byebyelove” has the same makeup as these songs- like the audio equivalent of reaching for the stars- yet as it sounds like it wants to inch close to the momentous, it comes away a little stunted and not something that could have been truly grand. Nevertheless, the album closes on the reflection of “You Were Good”, an acoustic piece that’s both nostalgic sounding, and distinctly monophonic. It is by far the most subdued of endings, and quite unlike what the band have done before.

Like Invented, Damage is the next page in a new chapter for the band. Produced by first time Jimmy Eat World collaborator Alain Johannes (Spinerette, Mark Lanegan), the album is perhaps the band’s most refined effort to date. Working out most of the shortcomings of the previous effort, Damage is another addition to an already impressive and long standing discography.

Jimmy Eat World, still terrific. (Dine Alone / RCA Records)

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Sight & Sound

Jimmy Eat World will steal you back (VIDEO)

Arizona rockers, Jimmy Eat World are prepping for the release of their much anticipated new album Damage. In the lead up, the band have released the video for the first single “I Will Steal You Back”. The signature tune is a little bit Futures, and a little bit Chase This Light and debuted at #37 on the Billboard Alternative Songs Chart.

Damage is set for release June 11th via RCA/Dine Alone Records.

 

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Music, Videos

Video: Jimmy Eat World – “Always Be”

Jimmy Eat World have debuted the second video from their latest album, Chase This Light. The video is for the track, “Always Be,” and follows the story of romantic loss set in the most lovelorn of locations- the museum (…on second thought, museums aren’t too shabby). It works for two reasons: no Ben Stiller, and no dodgy computer generated T-Rex skeleton chasing him.

It’s a decent song and while certainly evokes the kind of winning sentimentality found on their break through 2001 album Bleed American, it really isn’t anywhere near the strongest effort of the record- in fact, it’s not even the second or third strongest. Here’s the hoping that either “Chase This Light” and/or “Firefight” become follow-up singles.

Chase This Light is the band’s sixth full-length record, and is the follow-up to 2004’s Futures. As of late January, the record has scanned some 164,000 copies in the US.

Video:

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Album Reviews, Music

Review: Jimmy Eat World – Chase This Light

Good ideas are hard to come by. They come and go, come inspired, leave blank, and altogether, avoid you when you need them most. Just ask any serious artist, writer, or musician, because at some stage it is inevitable that their proverbial well would soak up its last drop of good intention. For Arizona pop/rockers Jimmy Eat World, this impasse came in 2004 when try tried to follow a hugely successful pop-soaked album with a collection of songs fighting to stay commercially viable while trying to gleam with the kind of depth the band had reached with both Static Prevails and Clarity. In truth, Futures did boast moments of quality- songs like “Work” best showed the band tight roping the fine line between radio friendly arrangements and the introspection and intimacy of their pre-Bleed American material. Even Bleed American, bursting from its seems with hit after hit, had its fair share of deeply emotive songs (see “Hear You Me” and “My Sundown”), and Jimmy Eat World are certainly no strangers to the concept of writing music accessible to both general audiences and those who actively seek a more personal connection to the artists they listen to. They write pop music that certainly sounds like pop music, but pop that resonates with far greater depth than their counterparts.

It is this idea, the taking of plucky melodies and easy to emulate song arrangements, and combining them with more abstract lyrical and narrative meditation, that separates Jimmy Eat World from your average pop/rock band. And after struggling to recapture the form of their massive 2001 effort, Jim Adkins and cohorts have begun the process of rejuvenation with Chase This Light; an earnestly capable album that is not only easy on the ears, but written smart enough to appease older Jimmy Eat World fans raised on the band’s pre radio chart days. Opening number “Big Casino” is simply screaming to be heard; with an anthemic Adkins metaphorical wailing over razor sharp riffs catchphrases of loneliness and acceptance; “I’ll accept with poise, with grace / When they draw my name from the lottery / And they’ll say all the salt in the world couldn’t melt that ice.” The band then reach dizzying heights with a trio of tunes culled together to end an album of albums- the title track, evoking the graceful melancholy of previous tunes “Work” and to a degree, “For Me This is Heaven,” while the closing “Dizzy” is similar to “My Sundown” in its patient build up and gentle conclusion. With “Firefight” however, the band excels to a new musical apex; perfectly constructing the melting point between lighter fare and the explosive nature of punk/post-hardcore guitar work. It’s scintillating to say the least.

Moreover, Chase This Light’s strongest quality is perhaps its consistent tone- a greater continuity over the album’s songs from beginning to end. While Futures boasted some high points, it was marred by weaker songs that felt out of place and written out of time to the rest. It however doesn’t hide some of Chase This Light’s more subdued moments, where the band appear to dally too long in a given musical space. The acoustic driven “Carry You,” while a capable down-tempo tune, lacks the kind of momentum built over the preceding songs. Similarly, “Electable (Give It Up)” sounds a little hollow; packed with a chorus of empty “woah woahs” while the following “Gotta Be Somebody’s Blues,” moody and all, comes across as a little too sullen, muting Adkins and the rest of the band.

The lull aside, Chase This Light exhibits the kind of intelligent songwriting music fans (especially fans of Jimmy Eat World) should demand on a consistent basis. The majority of it is concise in its craft, and near perfect in its execution. Jimmy Eat World may have some way to go to once again be beamed all over the airwaves with such demand, but as Chase This Light proves, rediscovering that inspiration, no matter how far from completion they may be, goes a long way. (Interscope)

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