Jimmy Eat World, the creators of fan favorites such as “Sweetness” and “The Middle,” have come back again with another creation this past week. This Mesa, Arizona, born American alternative rock band, consisting of vocalist Jim Adkins, guitarist and backing vocalist Tom Linton, bassist Rick Burch, and drummer Zach Lind have returned with a new album, Invented. Collaborating with producer Mark Trombino, who had previously worked with them on 1999’s Clarity and 2001’s Bleed American, it appears that the quartet has decided to go back to their roots. The release of Invented is the band’s seventh full length studio album.
Anyone familiar with Jimmy Eat World’s work will tell you that each album revolves around some sort of struggle that surrounds the band at the time. Their fifth album Futures, for example, had the heavy burden and struggles of following the success of Bleed American. Invented is no exception and seems to have it’s own story. And though there is a tale to tell, front man Adkins drew inspiration from elsewhere this time around. In an interview with MTV, he explained that he had been flipping through a photography book to do writing exercises to jump start his brain. As he did so, some of the ideas from his “free-writing session” started showing up in the material for the album. The perspective of the songs drew from the female characters depicted in these photographs. If you purchase the album, some of the photos can be found in the booklet.
Though this album may not be up to par with their previous releases, it does manage to hold its own. The album as a whole has the classical signs of being a “grower.” Aside from a couple of songs, such as “My Best Theory” and “Coffee and Cigarettes,” there are not many that exude a quick and pleasant sense of gratification that one would expect from the group. The opener, “Heart Is Hard to Find” does a great job for its position on the song list by providing beautifully composed instrumentals and contemplative lyrics. Other songs, like “Evidence” and “Cut,” all succeed in the same ways, albeit to a lesser extent.
The majority of the songs on the album depend on Adkins’s emotional vocal delivery. Many start off slower and grow into something more. An interesting thing to point out is that Tom Linton took lead vocals on “Action Needs an Audience,” marking his first time leading since “Blister” on Clarity. It can be argued that the highlights of the album come at the end. In a combined epic 13-ish minutes, “Invented” and “Mixtape” are what many fans would come to expect from Jimmy Eat World. The first song, “Invented” will undoubtedly become a live favorite.
Overall, the album appears to be more of a frolic in acoustics. Perhaps Jimmy Eat World is teasing its fan base. As opposed to entering the studio and pumping out ten songs filled with catchy hooks and simplistic lyrics, they chose to go with something more reflective and meaningful. The band has made success by being just a tad different from the rest and continues to shine because of it. As stated before, Invented feels like a grower even for loyal fans who have stuck with them from years past. Regardless, the album may be worth checking out whether or not you’ve enjoyed their previous works. In other words, this album gets a 3.5 out of 5.