Jimmy Eat World
Almost every Rock group that has managed to pack an arena has a tribute band or two. These groups roam the countryside. Like a road version of a Broadway show, tribute bands didn't originate the characters or write the parts, but they have got the lines down. And that's what counts.
Out in Mesa, AZ, in the mid-90s, some junior high friends took the leap. Jimmy Eat World's Jim Adkins (guitar/vocals), Tom Linton (guitar/vocals), Rick Burch (bass) and Zach Lind (drums) formed as a Metallica tribute band (all Metallica, all the time) - and why not. Imitating Metallica's lethal chops was an excellent way to learn. Eventually, they moved from the Metallica material and started writing their own songs.
Soon, Jimmy Eat World started down the indie release route gaining notoriety along the way. "Static Prevails" out in '96 was their full-length debut. Two years later their "Jimmy Eat World" EP arrived. '99 saw the group's major label debut with "Clarity." They also contributed songs to the "Never Been Kissed" soundtrack ("Lucky Denver Mint") and the Duran Duran tribute compilation ("New Religion"). Continuing to build momentum, "Bleed American" was released in '01 as the group landed on the Warped Tour. Later in the year, they hit the road in support of Blink 182.
Jimmy Eat World returned to the studio in early '04 but things didn't go well. So producer Gil Norton (Foo Fighters) was brought in. Later in the year, "Futures" arrived containing the title track, "Pain" and "Work." " The album was named one of the Top 50 Records of '04 by Rolling Stone magazine and made Spin's 40 Best Albums of the Year (#21 on the list). The group spent a large portion of '05 opening for Green Day.
The EP, "Stay On My Side," came out with reworked versions of songs originally recorded for "Futures" but abandoned at the time in favor of other material.
After wrapping up another tour, the band began recording their sixth album. This time, they co-produced the set with none other than Butch Vig (Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins). "Chase This Light" hit in October, '07.
Taking a victory lap in '09, Jimmy Eat World went on a 10-stop U.S. tour to commemorate the 10th anniversary of "Clarity," playing the entire record.
Featuring the single "My Best Theory," the band released "Invented" in September, '10. For this set Phoenix based singer Courtney Marie Andrews provided backing vocals on five songs.
"Invented" sold 34,500 units in the U.S. during its opening week to debut at #5 on the Billboard Rock Albums chart and at #11 on the Billboard 200.
With recording completed on their eighth album, Jimmy Eat World released their "Damage EP" to support Record Store Day. The EP contained the title track along with a cover of Radiohead's "Stop Whispering."
Produced by Alain Johannes and recorded in L.A., the full-length "Damage" arrived a few months later. Adkins felt the album's lyrics reflected a more experienced or mature outlook. "The world around me is a lot different than when I was writing break-up songs in my 20s," Adkins explained.
1994 Jimmy Eat World
1996 Static Prevails
2001 Bleed American (copies pressed after the 9/11 attacks were re-titled "Jimmy Eat World" )
2007 Chase This Light
Jimmy Eat World's indie releases didn't have much impact and there's a reason. They are fairly nondescript efforts of interest only to fans. Though it came out in '00 "Singles" is actually a compilation of earlier material.
"Clarity," Jimmy Eat World's third full-length effort, presents a group on the cusp and it's a solid effort. "Bleed American" with the title track and "A Praise Chorus" raises the bar. The guitar-oriented power Rock has a melodic bend. Not too surprising since the group features two strong vocalists who regularly trade lead parts within a song.
Jimmy Eat World manage to take it up a notch on "Futures," an album deserving of the accolades. The heart-on-the sleeve romanticism works well with the edgy power pop. The singles were all good choices. Along with those, the uptempo "Just Tonight" and the dense "Nothingwrong" have staying power.
"Chase This Light" once again proves that Jimmy Eat World has power pop-Punk down - cold. Lyrically, they present themselves as just boys like every other who can only guess at what money brings. Really? And they laugh off troubles in world inhabited by people who only get what they want to hear. Good idea. It's where they usually are, with emotions at or near the surface - a combination of kiss-off and quandary.
"Let It Happen," "Always Be," "Carry You" and 'Feeling Lucky" show Jimmy Eat World at the top of their irresistible game. "Electable (Give It Up)" is a change up with retro-80's vocal harmonies ("oh, oh, oh) and put-down vocals.
In keeping with what appears to be a resilient trend (for many groups), the title track is the weakest one on the album. Funny how that works. But it's a small quibble considering the entertaining and lively songs, starting with the catchy "Big Casino," that precede it.
The addition of Andrews on "Invented" is inspired. She gives a fullness to the arrangements without reducing a song's sonic impact - important for a post-Grunge band, especially one that's been around as long as Jimmy Eat World.
The set opens with the acoustic Rock stomper, "Heart Is Hard To Find" - a different, but strong start. "My Best Theory" and "Coffee And Cigarettes" are far and away the best tracks. They're uptempo power shots that show the band in full command. "Evidence" and "Action Needs An Audience" are right behind.
"Damage" often sounds more like The Cure than Jimmy Eat World of the mid-90s. The title track, an acoustic Rock song, and "Learn," a chord driven pop track, possess obvious similarities.
The acoustic element returns on two first-rate songs, "Book Of Love" and the ballad "Please Say No." But they are eclipse by "I Will Steal You Back" and "How'd You Have Me." The songs have a lean, uptempo jangle that's a long way from where Jimmy Eat World used to be but it's still a great place.