This is the album that Chase this Light promised to be, and should have been. Although a record sure to divide opinions – amongst critics and die hard fans alike – there is something undeniably brilliant in the latest musical offering from Jimmy Eat World, taking elements from previous hits and mashing them together in what can only be described as a beautiful musical smoothie.
What makes this album so brilliant, is that it has excelled in every way that Chase this Light failed. To follow Futures and Bleed American – often seen as the two definitive Jimmy albums before they went ‘pop’ – was never going to be an easy task for the 2007 record. Granted, there were some stunning tracks on Chase this Light, but Invented has blown it out of the water.
From the moment the record begins, you get a sense that something dramatic has happened to the Arizona foursome. Opener, ‘Heart is Hard to Find’ has a very basic feel to it’s beginning, composing of hand claps and an acoustic guitar. Add violins, a tambourine and Jim Adkins rippling vocals and you’re away. But although all the elements of meloncholy are present, this is an uplifting song, with the listener souring through the song with the vocals. Succeed this with ‘My Best Theory’ – a track with a guitar riff straight out of Futures and a pounding drum beat – you begin to realise where the dramatic difference has come from: a return to Jimmy Eat World‘s roots.
Without wanting to go through track by track and make comparisons to previous Jimmy Eat World songs, the sound they are exhibiting throughout Invented begs this comparison. There are songs that wouldn’t be out of place on their first studio recording, Static Prevails, or it’s successor Clarity, and this is no bad thing, as it demonstrates a return to many of the things that people love Jimmy Eat World for.
Although every song on the record has points of merit, from the catchy ‘Movielike’ to the lamenting ‘Cut’, if you only listen to one song on this album, be sure it is the title track ‘Invented’. Beginning with a single acoustic guitar, which gives way to a pulsing beat and silky vocals of both Adkins and guest vocalist Courtney Marie Andrews, ‘Invented’ appears to be another Jimmy love-song, reminiscent of ‘Hear You Me’ (Bleed American). Yet as the song progresses, more and more elements are built up, encorporating chimes and interweaving harmonies that are stunning to listen to. The song reaches it’s climax quite literally about five minutes in, where acoustic instruments are abandoned, making room for screaching guitars, cymbal crashes and a frustrated vocal outburst, that passes almost as suddenly as it appears, descending once again into the sublime
As a whole, there is something very united in the feel of the record. Where previous Jimmy albums have fused sounds verging on metal with sublime heart-wrenching ballads, there is something more commonsensical in the construction of Invented, as it moves lucidly from one track to another. And although this could be viewed as a negative trait – certainly, there are some albums where song cannot be distinguished from the next – that is not something that can be said for Invented. Each track stands alone, with a sound of its own, but fits seamlessly into a whole, making this an album that deserves a listen from start to finish.