Review Summary: Jimmy Eat World show their teeth.
Jimmy Eat World have reached that musical Nirvana where they are accessible, and yet embraced by the music community. They can do no wrong, especially after they released the huge-selling 'Bleed American' and catapulted themselves into the big leagues.
Of course, it is always interesting to see where a band started from.
'Static Prevails' was Jimmy Eat World growing into their own style, and finding a voice which really suited them, spurred on by bands like Sunny Day Real Estate
And it is very good.
The album opens with 'Thinking, That's All' - a mid-tempo song which sets the tone for the album - heavy but with a melodic bite. Jim Adkins' voice fits the angry tone, and his and Tom Linton's guitars mesh into a snarling whole, and in the choruses, Linton's deeper voice sings the words while Adkins screams in the background. It is a great pairing, and a fine opening song.
'Rockstar' switches vocal duties over to Linton, and his deeper, more melodious style links well with the fist-raising, anthemic chorus which you will probably find yourself humming for a long time after. It is a heart warming rock song that shows the signs of the JEW we know today.
'Claire' could almost be a ballad, with its lovelorn lyrics, and Adkins takes control of the singing once again. The guitars have been pared back a small notch, but still have the intensity to keep you hooked, with gentle plucks sounding clear in the mix. A great track.
'Call It In The Air' is a fast-paced punk song, with empassioned yells and buzzsaw guitars being the order of the day. Adkins' vocal harmonies are heartfelt while retaining an edge. In short, another good song to add to the list.
'Seventeen' hands the vocal baton to Linton once again, and he is faultless, giving the crunching but emotional guitars an excellent singer to bounce off. The chorus is simple, but all the more heart-rending for it - Adkins and Linton both yell "They'll take you, where you won't come back to me!" like they very much mean it. Another one that'll stick in your head.
'Episode IV' is a breather after the pounding pace set by the songs preceding it, but this does not signify a drop in quality. Far from it. Linton continues on the mic, singing softly with his heart firmly on his sleeve, and the lyrics capture the essence of teenage insouciance - "We'll dance off time to songs we've never liked, and sing off key, thinking it sounds alright". A sad, brilliant track.
'Digits' shows more ambition, with a Slint
like instrumental for its intro. The guitars chime and interplay, leaving you unsure as to what's going to happen next. Then, out of nowhere, the band come back in with a crash, and Adkins yells with a ferocity that with make you nearly jump out of your seat. The song tumbles along in punk pop fashion for a while, before leading into a gentle outro, with Adkins' vocals soaring over the top, and the last sounds in the song are soft chirps of birds. Fantastic music.
'Caveman' is a welcome return to Linton's singing, and the song is in the vein of 'Rockstar', but does not suffer for it at all. It is another rousing rocker that could launch a thousand stadium lighters, as wel as being pretty hard to forget.
'World Is Static' enters slowly, with a pulsing drumbeat underpinning tense guitars and growling bass. Then, the song leaps out at you like a tiger in the bushes, grabbing you the throat as Adkins yells into your face. It kicks and snarls with the most angst-ridden songs on the album, until the outro, where the vocals begin to harmonise, and the song ends on a slightly happier note than when it started. Another gem.
'In The Same Room' lulls you into a false sense of security with its soft intro, and then the guitars gradually thunder in, monolithic and powerful for some parts, and pulling back for dreamy, softer sections. The band's knowledge of attack and release is shown here, with thrilling results.
'Robot Factory' gallops along with a nervy intensity, and Linton sounds more anxious here than he has on the entire album - you can feel it, especially when he gives way to a yell near the end.
'Anderson Mesa' begins slowly, with plucked guitars and a calm rhythm section, until at the 2:34 mark, it drops into a down tempo chug, which unfolds over the rest of the song, and you won't want it to end, but it does, with lilting guitar plucks signifying the end of a fine album.
Worth every penny, and a great introduction to Jimmy Eat World.