Thanks to their admirable and largely consistent discography, each new Jimmy Eat World record is welcomed with open arms and a sense of expectation. ‘Integrity Blues’ is no different, and opener ‘You With Me’ sets the tone perfectly, swooning in with reassurance and a comforting sense of familiarity. While it’s not the urgent opener of past records (‘Futures’ and ‘Bleed American’), it’s clear the Jimmy Eat World of 2016 look to ease you in.
At its core, this a standard Jimmy Eat World record. Throughout there are elements that are reminiscent of past albums; ‘Get Right’ wouldn’t sound out of place on ‘Futures’, ’It Matters’’ guitars subtly intertwine in a ‘Clarity’-esque fashion and ‘Through’ has hints of ’Static Prevails’. Meanwhile, recent single ‘Sure and Certain’ serves its purpose, being thoroughly addictive with its warm chorus and twinkling middle eight. It’s one of the early highlights and one of the band’s best songs in recent years.
The production of Justin Mellal-Johnsen (Paramore, M83) provides an airy, polished tone, allowing the band to occasionally experiment – to varying levels of success. Most notably ‘Pass The Baby’ jars the album’s momentum, its sparse, electronic-led approach spoiling the comforting flow, while the title track sweeps through with just Adkins’ vocals and grand orchestration. Together they show a departure from the standard emo rock we’ve come to expect.
‘You Are Free’ puts things back on track with its stirring undertone; reassuring and thoughtful. Its chorus is bright and hopeful, on a par with ‘Sure and Certain’ as being a standout track. However, the album’s slight downfall is the occasional offering of filler; ‘The End Is Beautiful’, while soft and radiant, doesn’t have a lasting impact.
Ultimately ‘Integrity Blues’ is something of a hybrid. Jimmy Eat World swing from playing it safe to offering a considered challenge, pulling from the past put remaining relevant. It’s another commendable addition to an already trustworthy back catalogue.
‘Integrity Blues’ by Jimmy Eat World is released on October 21st on RCA Records.
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)