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Jimmy Eat World grows up
Don't call them “emo” anymore.
Jimmy Eat World may have been one of the first bands to prove that this teen-targeted underground hybrid of punk and indie music could ring up platinum sales on a major mainstream label with the 2001 album “Bleed American,” but they're older than that now.
Sure, the signature big hooks and poppy singalong melodies are all over the place on “Invented,” the Tempe, Ariz., quartet's sixth full-length album in 14 years. But the lyrics that singer-guitarist Jim Adkins is coming up with these days seem to address weightier matters than those that concern the average acne-angst-ridden adolescent.
The urgent fuzz guitar lines and pulse-quickening beat of “Action Needs an Audience” seem full of youthful, fist-pumping vigor and defiance, but Adkins is cautioning anyone who'll listen to “Breathe in the air while you still can / Take all that you have while you still can / Sleep all night while you still can / Breathe!”
The gorgeously cinematic sweep of strings and acoustic guitars, celebratory hand claps and anthemic melodic fervor of the album-opening “Heart Is Hard to Find” belie lyrics seemingly wrought from middle-aged uncertainty: “I can't compete with the clear eyes of strangers / I'm more and more replaced / By my friends each night / I can't compete / Just can't recover / How many years it's been, it's day one in my mind.”
These seem the sentiments of a man — not a boy — feeling time starting to slip away.
“Well, I am 35 now,” Adkins said with a chuckle during a phone conversation from his Arizona home last week, where he was taking a short break from touring. “I guess that's where things differ from the past. I think in the past there's been a lot of writing about discovery, of just being kind of lost in the possibilities of things being new. That might be where this record differs. This is kind of more about taking an honest look at where you're at instead of a naive, youthful kind of outlook on how things might turn out.”
Age didn't have everything to do with the way the songs of “Invented” turned out. After completing the writing and recording of the Butch Vig-produced “Chase the Light” in 2007, Adkins began experimenting with a new songwriting exercise, using the photographs from Cindy Sherman's “Completely Untitled Film Still” series and Hannah Starkey's “Photographs 1997-2007” for inspiration.
“I'd basically pick an image at random and write everything I could think of about the scene there, just take 15 minutes and do that,” Adkins said. “And then later in the day I'd be working on our material, and little by little some of the more interesting ideas from those writing sessions would just start kind of creeping into the songs. And as it turned out, those ideas were what the other guys (guitarist/singer Tom Linton, drummer Zach Lind, bassist Rick Burch) were most excited about, too.
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CURRENT LOOK ISSUE
Jimmy Eat World
• With: David Bazan & Band.
• When: 8 p.m. Saturday.
• Where: Diamond Ballroom, 8001 S Eastern.
• Tickets: $22 advance, $24 day of show, available at all Buy For Less stores, by phone at (866) 977-6849, or online at protix.com. Doors open at 7 p.m.