Review Summary: A scrapbook.
Just as Jim Adkins imagined the life behind photographs of strangers to conjure the hearts and souls behind Invented
's narrators, it helps to turn these songs, for a short moment, into reflections of the band he so confidently conducts. For instance: where Bleed American
and Chase This Light
exploded into life straight out of the traps with crunching riffs and anthemic shouts, Invented
opens with musical striptease 'Heart Is Hard To Find,' which builds without ever climaxing and eases the album into flow with an admirable swagger. Quite why this comes as a surprise is anybody's guess, but I'll say this: Invented
doesn't give itself up easy. Several of its songs are Futures-standard infectious, but it takes more than a few listens to appreciate what a remoulded Jimmy Eat World has to offer, if only to discard prior misconceptions.
that remoulded band; many will argue that it's simply a continuation of their trend towards pop, but to do so would be to ignore the return of Bleed American
producer Mark Trombino, the group's recent celebration of Clarity
(also Trombino-produced) and the obvious and recorded effects that these backwards glances have on Jimmy Eat World's newer material. Like, remember how 'Gotta Be Somebody's Blues' was the most drawn-out and arguably different song on Chase This Light
, but how it was definitely still a song which belonged to Chase This Light
by way of its linear tempo and absence of momentum shifts? Invented
is far less predictable in its approach, but not in an obnoxious manner - just in how the solo of 'Littlething' actually slows the grandiose soundscape down two notches, or in how 'Action Needs An Audience's vocals are contributed by guitarist Tom Linton.
But none of these things are jarring or seem like change for change's sake; despite a peculiar track listing, Invented
sits together as a fantastically cohesive unit of music. It manages to carve its own feel
out of old Jimmy Eat World textures, and so instead of your new aesthetic you have something far less announced; moody tracks like 'Stop' and 'Cut' sit alongside stomping numbers like lead single 'My Best Theory' (incidentally the worst song here, but still engaging) and 'Actions Needs An Audience', and the album is closed by two lengthy slow-burners which grow and die effortlessly. All this is produced immaculately so that the downtempo balladry of the title track feels like the brother of the almost-dancy 'Higher Devotion' despite the two songs having almost nothing in common. Except, that is, for Adkins' immediately welcoming tone.
In fact, that's the word; Invented
is such a welcoming
album that the brief emergence of lead female vocals on the breathtaking 'Coffee And Cigarettes' doesn't raise an eyebrow even first time around; it's par for the course. And because it's so welcoming, it's also deceptive; deceptively different, deceptively catchy, deceptively excellent
. It was so easy to throw away 'My Best Theory' and assert that the band had lost their flair for good, but the truth is that Jimmy Eat World have grown up, and I don't mean to imply that they've sold out or undergone some radical reform; no, like actually
growing up, Invented
is the first Jimmy Eat World album since Clarity
which frequently defers the instant high for a much more subtle impression, and like actually
growing up, they haven't changed at all on the inside except for a small cut-and-paste job. They still marry emotion and melody like no other band; they still know how to rock, how to whisper, how to celebrate and how to worry. This is just Jimmy Eat World proving they can do them all in one place, and asking you to invest enough to join in.