Jimmy Eat World’s eighth full-length “Damage,” out Tuesday, proves even-keeled bands can, and should, stay together.
Initially associated with the late-‘90s emo-core scene (anyone remember The Get Up Kids?), time and context have reserved a relevant place for the Mesa, Arizona foursome’s earnest guitar-pop.
While “Damage” might not have the immediacy or scope of 1996’s bracing “Static Prevails” and 2001’s platinum smash “Bleed American,” its ten songs feature crisp, stripped-down production and some of the group’s better melodies in years.
First single “I Will Steal You Back” (listen), in particular, effectively distills of all the band’s strengths — chiming arpeggios, crunchy power chords, rock-solid rhythms and, up front, Jim Adkins’ nice-guy vocals.
Those who pine for a full-fledged return to Jimmy Eat World’s punk-pop roots will have to keep waiting, however. Adkins’ lovelorn, irony-free lyrics can be a bit one-note, and the record’s track sequencing is noticeably top-heavy, its B-side fading fast into power-ballad oblivion.
With the group’s commercial zenith in its rear-view, “Damage” isn’t likely to make a huge bump in its audience, but ought to reconnect with fans who’ve lost touch.
Stream the whole album here.