Arizona’s finest exporters of emo-pop return with album number seven
Arizona’s finest exporters of emo-pop return with album number seven, and after a brief dalliance with producer Butch Vig for 2007’s Chase This Light, they return to the reliable embrace of Mark Trombino. In doing so, it demarcates Invented as a potentially ‘safe’ record. While lead single My Best Theory buzzes like the boisterous sound of past singles Bleed American and Big Casino, its chugging mid-tempo riff and forlorn lyric (“The answers come back unanswered”) are a bait-and-switch for what is the band’s most tender set to date.
Jimmy Eat World have always dressed up their simple hooks with irresistible dressing of polished harmonies and glistening production but Invented does little to break the band’s tried and true formula. The only attempt to change up their game is in bandleader Jim Adkins’ new writing style. Inspired by a photography series of female portraits, Invented finds Adkins creating fictional narratives written from the other gender’s perspective (thus the title). An interesting idea, but the result strays little from his usual love-stung lyrical territory, simply swapping the ‘his’ for ‘hers.’
Only long-time fans will really notice the subtle nuances to the group’s brand of grand-staged emotion. Strings are brought forward in the mix, while the likes of Movielike and the title track are built upon acoustic guitar. Aside from that it’s cathartic sing-a-long business as usual. Once the record hits its stride – which coincides precisely with the glistening opening of Stop – there’s a near-perfect run of tunes that sit proudly along the best in the Jimmy Eat World canon. In fact, it’s when they attempt to crank the aggression factor back up with Action Needs An Audience that they falter.
As the closing Mixtape circles around the refrain of “You don’t get to walk away, walk away” in a familiar yet comforting swell of textured chords, the lasting impression is that even heart-on-their-sleeve emo types, it seems, can age gracefully