Review Summary: Jimmy Eat World rein themselves in, but they're still a lot of fun.
Perhaps Chase This Light
was a little too upbeat for Jimmy Eat World. They'd done fun, optimistic tunes before, of course (and rather well at that), but Chase This Light
took the theme and ran with it. In and of itself, this isn't a bad really thing; the record features a number of slick pop songs, and it's wonderful if Jim Adkins is as happy as he sounds in "Big Casino". But in ratcheting up the peppiness, Jimmy Eat World missed out on the kind of slow-burning contemplativeness that provided such a neat contrast to songs like "Sweetness" and "A Praise Chorus". "Gotta Be Somebody's Blues" came close, admittedly, but it hardly conveyed the kind of power that "23" or "My Sundown" did.
In this context, Invented
is a rather interesting follow up. If Chase This Light
overwhelmingly focused on bouncy, upbeat tracks, Invented
is the opposite. Aside from "My Best Theory", the record is bereft of the anthemic sing-alongs that Jimmy Eat World is generally known for. That isn't to say it's particularly dark, ala Futures
, or that it even lacks genuine rock songs. Both "Coffee and Cigarettes" and "Action Needs an Audience" feature rougher undertones accentuated by driving power chords. However, where the beauty of Jimmy Eat World's other post-Clarity
efforts were in their simplicity and catchiness, with Invented
, the band opts for something a little less obvious. One almost wants to call it a reaction to a song like Chase This Light
's "Here It Goes" (in hindsight, the song's danceable inclinations may have come on a little strong…). While Jim Adkins and co. haven't exactly abandoned the hook, they do force listeners to dig a little deeper in tracks like "Cut" and "Littlething".
What is immediately clear is that Jimmy Eat World makes their biggest statement in the record's closing songs. The title track and "Mixtape" are two of the group's most easy going tracks (aside from a brief distorted bit in the former), but they best embody the spirit Jimmy Eat World embraces on Invented
. The songwriting is the real draw here; while neither track strikes me bringing the kind of instant gratification that many of their previous songs did, the leisurely pace to which both songs built up is extremely captivating. And with their lush instrumentation, both songs convey a warm sound that has eluded most of the band's (sadder) ballads.
Much in the same way "My Sundown" reined in Bleed American
after the likes of "Sweetness", "The Middle", and even "If You Don't, Don't" Invented
reins in Jimmy Eat World after Chase This Light
. It still possesses the same inviting, feel-good sentiment, but it's expressed more personably, and in this regard it makes for a very rewarding listen.