Somewhere between heaven and hell, Jimmy Eat World has found a sound to rest upon in their newest Interscope album, Chase This Light.
The first track, "Big Casino," begins with a whirlwind and implies that the album will continue where the Arizona group left off with 2004's Futures, which blended abrasive and explosive rock tracks with tracks of soft melodies that switched easily.
The album digresses immediately following "Big Casino" and gives birth to a new, but strangely familiar side of the foursome. The heavy-handed, pain-induced affliction of Futures is dead and in its place is a deeper sincerity that shows the band is still strong after over a decade of service to their fans.
The album is made for the indulgent romantic with a crowd-surfer's voice. Songs like "Electable (Give it Up)" and "Let It Happen" rely on dance-happy hooks and a form of sing-along thematic to carry the listener through these slots in the album.
Other songs, like the title track and "Dizzy," for example, reveal a slower and calmer tone to fill out the remaining minutes. The most notable song and arguably the best track is "Gotta Be Somebody's Blues," a hypersensitive ballad that blares with a melodramatic string section and an otherworldly, almost deadened atmosphere. The album anchors around this song because it represents the purpose of the album: to bleed out in stylized, serious fashion.
Chase This Light marks the growth of the band not necessarily in skill or talent, but rather in behavior. This time around, the boys are not boys, but thirty-something men who have been in the spotlight and dealt with fame for years now.
The lyrics and the music are tuned to empathize and conceptualize a once fast but now slow demise in the mentality of singer/songwriter Jim Adkins. Where he would once sing, "Never feel the same," he now sings, "Let the factories rust," ambushing self pity with a silver sound. The rest of the band plays towards this mindset, with most of the album under a four measure bass kick that throbs like a beating heart and strident, progressing guitar and bass.
The album fights to be noticed as if the body and soul have exhausted every resource and the sounds that follow make up Chase This Light. However furious their sound was in Futures, with tracks such as "Just Tonight" or "Nothing Wrong," in Chase This Light their sound hits with more wisdom and clarity.
While they submitted their hardwired, aggressive side in 2004, their newest album delivers a less intense but perhaps more meaningful counterpart. Though the band obviously played with different effects and genres in this latest institution, they remain true to their original sound while evolving accordingly. When the light finally goes out and the music stops, Chase This Light will be Jimmy Eat World's greatest personal achievement.