Review Summary: "Don't leave without intentions of ever coming back."
1996 was an odd year for Jimmy Eat World. They were coming off of their 1994 debut - which was a scatterbrained punk album that lacked any flow or sensibility - and were picked up by Capitol Records with no idea as to which direction they were headed in. In fact, they hadn’t even chosen a full time lead singer; vocal duties were split between their two guitarists, Jim Adkins and Tom Linton. Before releasing huge radio hits such as “The Middle”, Jimmy Eat World was a band that played a unique blend of emo and alternative rock that would eventually influence many bands from the 90s to bands from the current day emo scene.
The lead vocals on Static Prevails
are almost equally split between the two guitarists. Their two styles contrast very well, and they play off each others strengths. Linton’s voice is deep and gritty, while Adkin’s is higher pitched - more typical of the emo scene at the time. They support each other in an incredible way, which Adkins shows on the opener “Thinking, That’s All,” where he screams at the top of his lungs while Linton sings the chorus. Lyrically, Static Prevails
offers some of the finest that emo has to offer. With the lyrical duty split as well, Linton and Adkins find a common theme that brings the two together: love. Adkins and Linton have an uncanny ability to write phenomenal yet simple lyrics that listeners will find very easy to connect with. “Episode IV” is a heartachingly beautiful track in particular, featuring Linton on vocal duties - but for the first time on the album, he tones them down to create a heartwarming track. Adkins and Linton can even combine to form very post-hardcore influenced and aggressive tracks, ideas which Jimmy Eat World never explored again. Static Prevails
has something to offer for everyone.
The guitar work on Static Prevails
fits Jimmy Eat World’s sound perfectly on every track. At points it can be heavily distorted and fast-paced, while at others, just a simple yet beautiful chord progression. The band features two guitar players which helps them create memorable and breathtaking melodies. They also like to use loud-soft dynamics in their sound, soft guitar playing then suddenly exploding back into a more full sound. Bassist Rich Burch’s playing isn’t over the top however he plays off the rest of the band well. Zach Lind's drumming is nothing short of amazing, he can play a multitude of styles perfectly which include the more fast paced drumming more akin to post-hardcore and very soft subtle drumming for the softer tracks. Jimmy Eat World have a way with closing albums and Static Prevails
is no different. “Anderson Mesa” starts off as a light ballad featuring Adkins soft emotional vocals, before he releases everything in an outburst of unbridled emotion before the song and album slowly fade away.
was a hugely important album in the 90’s emo scene, one which went on to influence many bands. Jimmy Eat World’s follow-up album, Clarity
, generally gets all the attention and praise, while its predecessor is criminally overlooked. Static Prevails
is the album that laid the groundwork for their legendary next album, and ultimately inspired countless classic emo albums to follow.