Damage by Jimmy Eat World

Damage by Jimmy Eat World

 

Remember when these everyman rockers ruled the airwaves in the early 2000s? Bleed American and Futures captured the power-pop sentiment of the time perfectly, with melodic riffs combined with just enough emo streak to capture sensibilities of both sexes. A couple of underwhelming releases later though, and they were back where they began: as purveyors of perfectly inoffensive pop/rock ballads that just weren’t interesting enough to grab shortened attention spans in our Twitterized world.

 

Now though, the Arizona boys are back at it with Damage, their first release on RCA Records. At first listen, this eighth LP sounds the same as any of their recent efforts, with minimal experimentation and bright, crunchy riffs straddling almost every track. But a closer analysis reveals a more thoughtful songwriting process that increasingly appeals to the late-20s/early-30s working-type individuals who are either just settling down with a partner, or (hopefully) just broke up with one and require a little musical solace.

 

TRACKLIST:
#1. Appreciation 3:16
#2. Damage 3:08
#3. Lean 3:05
#4. Book Of Love 3:56
#5. I Will Steal You Back 3:29
#6. Please Say No 4:41
#7. How You’d Have Me 3:42
#8. No, Never 3:51
#9. Byebyelove 4:32
#10. You Were Good 4:14

 

PERSONNEL:
Jim Adkins: Vocals, Guitar
Rick Burch: Backing Vocals, Bass Guitar
Zach Lind: Drums, Percussion
Tom Linton: Backing Vocals, Guitar

 

PRODUCER:
Alain Johannes
Jimmy Eat World

 

DATE OF RELEASE:
11th June, 2013

 

SINGLES:
I Will Steal You Back
Damage

 

Appreciation is a reassuring, pop-punky opener with a few rough edges, utilizing their time-tested concoction of pacy alt-rock that Hoobastank – another act that fell off the map – cashed in on. Along with new single Damage, a gentler and conciliatory counterpoint to the comparatively abrasive opener, these first minutes will decide whether you dig the album or not. It may not be terribly exciting, but sitting back and letting 40-odd minutes of limestone rock wash over you ain’t too bad.

 

This isn’t to say that Damage is without its tedious moments: aside from underwhelming lyrics and also-ran arrangements, Lean and Book Of Love can easily be skipped over without losing anything significant. A slight improvement is I Will Steal You Back – an unremarkable cut, not worth more than a single listen – but at least it features memorable choruses performed energetically by Adkins’ mates.

 

So most of the good stuff occupies the latter half, especially How You’d Have Me, a clear standout with its wistful subject and grungy wall of distorted guitars. Another highlight is No, Never which deals with insecurity and fairness in a very mature fashion. Despite the most outdated of production frills (echoing snares, background keyboard playing high notes in the second verse, etc.) it really has the feel of a band actually getting together and performing live: look out for the authentic waver in Adkins’ vocals as he furiously punches the chords out of his Telecaster.

 

The closing two tracks are also keepers, though at times you wish they’d go for a little more self-indulgence than wander back to safer domains. Still, Byebyelove manages to relay a catchy, comparatively adventurous breakup track, and You Were Good is the inevitable acceptance of life’s realities: love doesn’t always work out and you have to move on. Guess you’ll eventually settle down on the wrong side of forty with someone you can actually live with.

 

Damage won’t re-catapult Jimmy Eat World to mass popularity or bust the charts, but it should give their primary fan demographic something to cheer about.

 

 

 

 

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