Alter The Press!


ATP! Album Review: Jimmy Eat World - Damage

Old dependables Jimmy Eat World have been a staple of the emo-rock scene for well over a decade, but is eighth studio album Damage enough to keep them at the head of the pack?

Jim Adkins (vocals) has been quick to point out that their newest record is the group’s attempt at an ‘adult break-up album,’ using their unique maturity within the scene to appeal to an older fanbase.

Luckily, Jimmy Eat World have kept their trademark melody, underpinned by Adkins ever-emotive voice. This is not an album purely for aging romantics, though – it contains enough longing sentiment and catchy songs to appeal to those not already acquainted with the band.

Opening track ‘Appreciation,’ ‘How’d You Have Me’ and lead single ‘I Will Steal You Back’ are the stand-out tracks. The first is a sweet, guitar-pop track of the type that Jimmy Eat World mastered a long time ago, more reminiscent of Bleed American than anything the band have released since with last album Invented felt keenly on the chorus.

‘I Will Steal You Back’ is also classic Jimmy Eat World, an acoustic-led track with sparse but effective guitar work in the verses leading to an exceptionally catchy chorus, perfectly combining the two sides of the band to impressive effect.

Damage is not without its flaws, however. The vast majority of the tracks are pretty, Adkins’ voice always pleasant, the band’s work always considered and deliberate – after all these years they’ve learnt when not to play as much as when is best to.

But two or three songs here are guilty of being just a bit… dull. On the surface the traditional Jimmy Eat World elements are intact, but the excitement or heartache that infuses their best tracks is lacking. The acoustic base of the album tends to leave Damage a little weak overall, despite the brighter production which is evocative of their earlier material.

Having said that, I am someone who has grown up with Bleed American – that was the album that I formed that profound connection with. The majority of people reading this review will have a Jimmy Eat World album that resonated with them on a similar level. Damage has the potential to provide that same connection with the right person, in the right frame of mind.

That person isn’t me, right now. I have a feeling that there will come a time in my life when this group of songs takes on greater significance to me, like ‘A Praise Chorus’ and ‘The Middle’ did back in 2001; like ’23’ did when I reached that age last year. Jimmy Eat World have a knack for nailing the feeling of specific emotions and situations – it’s just finding that right moment.

That’s the reason Jimmy Eat World remain so important, so vital, to so many people. Damage isn’t their best album, but it probably isn’t their worst either. For those with a passing interest, the songs here sound good enough to warrant repeated listens. For those willing to delve a little beneath the surface and embrace this album, the typical Jimmy Eat World connection is there to be found.


James Tremain

Damage is out now via RCA.

Alter The Press!