Review by Dom Vigil
The great thing about bands like Jimmy Eat World, who have been creating music for over twenty years is that you never know what they’re going to do next, but whatever it is, it promises to be great. Thankfully the band’s ninth album, Integrity Blues is no exception. Emotional, yet very mature sounding and a quite a bit more mellow than their 2013 release Damage, these eleven songs mark a new era for Jimmy Eat World, and one that their fans are sure to connect with.
“You With Me” kicks off Integrity Blues and right away, those mellow, laid back tones are present, although the opening track is easily one of the brightest and most hopeful sounding songs on the record. Right off the bat, those trademark vocal harmonies stand out, and alongside the dreamy instrumentals, “You With Me” starts things off on a high note. Further establishing this softer, dreamy sound is “Sure and Certain,” which is also a good way to describe the confident sounding track. This is Jimmy Eat World at their best, and the product is something that has come a long way from the hopeful uncertainty in the lyrics of “A Praise Chorus.”
As a whole, Integrity Blues is a laid back, mellow release. If you’re looking for something explosive or high energy, this may not be the album for you, but if you’re looking to hear some growth and change from a band that has certainly been around the block, then Jimmy Eat World have absolutely delivered. And despite the slower tone of the album, there is still quite a bit of diversity to this release as well. Emotions run high in “It Matters” - you can hear the slight quiver in Jim Adkins’ vocals - and a few songs later, “Pass The Baby” is a darker, more electronic-based track. This song really keeps you on your toes, as it’s Jimmy Eat World like you’ve never heard them before, but it doesn’t sound out of place thanks to the beautiful guitar that comes in about halfway through the song.
Where “Pass The Baby” ends with dark, distorted guitars, “Get Right” picks things right up. This is the explosive moment that you’ve been waiting for, and although it comes a little later than expected, the energy in the song is incredible. Then, a few songs later, “Through” begins to bring Integrity Blues to a close, and this track has a little bit of everything - gorgeous vocal harmonies, a hopeful, bright energy and beautiful guitar work. Lyrically, “Through” really drives the message of Integrity Blues home as well in bittersweet lines like “Keep in mind there’s a big, big difference/To letting go and running away.” And then, just when you think the album couldn’t get even more powerful, the title track comes in and completely blows you away. Quiet and mellow, much like the majority of the album, “Integrity Blues” proves that even a slower song can sound massive and powerful. Just like “Through,” “Integrity Blues” feels like moving on as Adkins sings, “I’ve got work to do.”
The mature sounds and hopeful themes on Integrity Blues shouldn’t come as a surprise to Jimmy Eat World fans, and by the time the album comes to an end with “Pol Roger,” it is sure to leave you feeling inspired and enlightened.
Listen to "Sure and Certain" or "Through"
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