First things first, the latest release from Jimmy Eat World doesn’t feature a ‘Lucky Denver Mint’, a ‘Sweetness’ or a ‘Big Casino’. Unlike previous efforts bearing such immediate anthems, Invented is one to be consigned to the ‘slow burner’ category. You know the type, those that you can sense the quality of from the first listen, but just doesn’t grab you as you may expect, and rather you hope you have the patience to let it grow on you rather than let it remain on a shelf forever.
Not that Invented is by any means a bad album, nor that the pop hooks and driving riffs are entirely absent this time around. Lead single ‘My Best Theory’ in particular is anchored by a catchy chorus and a truly uplifting bridge section. But something seems to hold them back from fully soaring as they have done in the past. This is perhaps in part due to overproduction, surprising as that is considering they are working with Mark Trombino, who handled both Bleed American and Clarity.
In any case, it just so happens that for much of the record the band are content to remain in dreamier downbeat territory, which at worst leads to decidedly bland cuts such as ‘Stop’ and ‘Littlething’ but at best serves to highlight Jim Adkins’ ability to proudly wear his heart on his sleeve and yet retain some sense of dignity. Few could deliver the lines ‘Can you see it in my eyes?/You’re always in my head/ You’re just what I wanted’ with such sincerity and conviction as he does here without sounding like a total sap. In some sense this is what makes the two ballads that close the album the most intriguing section of the record. Even this late in their career, Adkins can still seem earnest in his sentiments as he conveys the bewilderment and excitement of youthful relationships.
In an ideal world then, Jimmy Eat World would still be found on the soundtrack to any all-American teen drama, albeit no longer scoring the house party scenes quite so often as the more tender moments.