CD Review: Jimmy Eat World / Invented
Reviewed by: Ryan Labbe
When I think of Jimmy Eat World, one word that comes to mind is “consistent”. Throughout their career, from their self-titled debut up to 2007’s Chase This Light, the band, comprised of Jim Adkins on vocals and guitar, Rick Burch on bass and backing vocals, Tom Linton on guitar and vocals and Zach Lind on drums have consistently put out good rock albums. Invented, their brand new album is no exception.
The album’s opener, “The Heart is Hard to Find,” immediately became a favorite of mine upon first listen. Acoustic guitars and handclaps provide the backdrop as Adkins sings, “I can’t compete with the clear eyes of strangers. I’m more and more replaced by my friends each night.” A kick drum and backing vocals kick in for the chorus. As an orchestra weaves a melody, the song takes shape and I found myself hoping the rest of Invented was as memorable.
“My Best Theory,” the album’s first single is the second track. While it’s a radio worthy rocker, it doesn’t break any new ground and I found myself enjoying the song for what it was, but hoping that the remainder of Invented was better.
I only had to skip to the next track to find “Evidence”; a quiet guitar riff takes us into an upbeat, hook-laden verse. Distorted guitars are used sparingly during this song, but it’s perfect. Whether the clean guitars of the verse or the crunchy guitars of the chorus, the bass and drums drive this song along through a memorable story. “I watched you put on a dress I’d never seen, something that begged for east Atlantic breeze,” sings Adkins. “You did what you did/the memory lives/Nothing cleans evidence.”
Other highlights include the soft, but upbeat title track, the fierce “Action Needs and Audience,” and the energetic and fun nostalgia of “Coffee and Cigarettes.”
The closer, “Mixtape” begins with a thick and slow deliberate bass drum/snare beat. The beat recedes and Adkins sings, “Maybe we could put your tape back on/rewind until the moment we went wrong.” The chorus picks up, with a bittersweet, “You don’t get to walk away, walk away now.” This is where I feel Jimmy Eat World are at their best. Similar to “Hear You Me,” on 2001’s Bleed American, the music is understated, while Adkin’s wonderful lyrics convey an emotion and depth felt long after the song ends.
Jimmy Eat World does not waste a lyric, or play note without meaning. Invented, like all of the band’s releases, has a bittersweet undercurrent running through it and it’s easy to see why this band has built such a large following. Whether Jimmy Eat World will repeat the success of hits like “The Middle” remains to be seen, but fans who rely on much more than the radio for the Jimmy Eat World fix will be pleased with Invented.