Arizona’s Jimmy Eat World have become somewhat of an institution across the music scene over their just over two decade long career and, as is only to be expected, their sound has developed as the band has. The days of huge pop-punk anthems whilst still having an influence are somewhat behind them, but, with that said, new effort ‘Integrity Blues’ progresses the more withdrawn approach introduced on 2013 offering ‘Damage’, making this new release much more consistent as is to be expected from these veterans.
Opening the record with a calming acoustic introduction is ‘You With Me’, building a steady pace with frontman Jim Adkins‘ trademark smooth vocals floating above the instrumentals, which is similar to later, albeit slightly more sombre track, ‘Through’. This band’s progression from their last album is established on the more mellow, emotional tracks; ‘It Matters’ could easily be a poignant follow on from ‘Just Tonight…’ from 2004’s ‘Futures’. Later track, ‘The End Is Beautiful’, not only allows the band show off their lyrical prowess, but also sees Adkins push his vocals to a terrific standard.
The highlights come when this band try something a little darker from the stripped-down approach their latest musical style has taken on. Atmospheric number ‘Pass The Baby’ features some impressive instrumental work from the rest of the band, then leading into the big-hitting track, ‘Get Right’. The track sees Adkins demand focus with a huge vocal performance. These bigger tracks standing out, though leave other numbers such as ‘Sure And Certain’ and ‘Pretty Grids’ to fall by the wayside, despite not actually being bad performances.
You don’t last as long as Jimmy Eat World have without being able to reliably churn out great records, and ‘Integrity Blues’ is no exception. It’s reassuring to know that this band are never going to sit comfortably grinding out the same album over and over again, and are still trying to develop their sound over eight albums in.
Whilst this album may not have the huge, powerful, fast-paced choruses we know the band have in them, that isn’t who this band are anymore, and they still retain the brilliance that took the world by storm all those years ago.
Written by Jon Barlow (@Narlow1)