Damage... Shine on, you crazy umbrella
Review: Jimmy Eat World – Damage
Published on June 13th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
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Jimmy Eat World’s eighth album Damage is, according to front bloke Jim Adkins, “an attempt at making an adult breakup record”. Alas, the Arizona punk-pop favourites were never coming from a sufficiently leftfield starting point for this attempt to yield any even remotely interesting results, but there are some pretty nice moments nevertheless.
Rocksucker can appreciate “Appreciation”; it’s got some nice two-part harmonies and a melody that unfurls with subtlety amidst the crashing instrumentation, which in the chorus slips into a sludgy sort of sway. The title track, though, is more indicative of the fare on Damage, treading a very fine line between polished and over-polished with a U2-y sort of strum, although the verse’s staggering drums and the light let in by the string arrangement are plus points.
“Lean” is decent bittersweet power-pop with a lovely light vocal melody, Adkins’s lyrics remaining reasonably astute – “It was the peak of summer and I thought we’d drowned” from “Please Say No” and “Two adult children engaged in separate play” from “How’d You Have Me” being two such examples – despite the thematic handicap. Let’s put it this way: they’re leagues ahead of Green Day at this stage, a notion consolidated when the elegantly sweeping jangle-pop of “Book of Love” comes damned close to sounding like Death Cab for Cutie.
By the time “I Will Steal You Back” rolls in, Damage has made it very clear that it intends to stick to its guns for the duration; this is admirable in its way but it sure does make for predictable/samey results. “Please Say No” features some splendorous backing vocals, though, and parting duo “Byebyelove” and “You Were Good” are probably the album’s two finest tracks, the former anthemic in a good way, the latter charmingly lo-fi and – with the lyrical likes of “Either you’re bad at cheating or there’s something in your heart you wish I knew” – actually quite sweet.
Overall, Damage has its moments, but at its best it’s still only quite good.
Rocksucker says: Two and a Half Quails out of Five!
Damage is out now on RCA Records.