Nearly three years to the date after their last CD “Futures” was released, alternative rockers Jimmy Eat World are back with a brand new disc called “Chase This Light.” So was it worth the wait? Without a doubt it was. From the opener and first single “Big Casino” to the closer “Dizzy,” the CD is yet another solid effort from the band. There’s really nothing on the CD that you will want to skip over as each song brings with it something new. The disc is full of catchy rock songs like “Here It Goes” and thought provoking slow tracks like “Gotta Be Somebody’s Blues.” This is everything that a Jimmy Eat World fan could have hoped for while providing enough mainstream appeal to be enjoyed by everyone.
Jimmy Eat World was formed in Mesa, Arizona, in 1993 by childhood friends Jim Adkins, who sang and played guitar, and drummer Zach Lind. They then recruited guitarist Tom Linton and bassist Mitch Porter, who left in 1995 for personal reasons and was replaced by Rick Burch.
Their 1998 album “Clarity” helped to put them on the indie radar, but it was their 2001 release “Bleed American” (later changed to self-titled after the 9/11 attacks) that cemented them as alternative rock mainstays.
The album featured their mega-hit “The Middle,” and several other tracks that found there way into movies like “National Lampoon’s Van Wilder,” “Wedding Crashers” and “The Butterfly Effect” just to name a few.
Next came 2004’s “Futures,” which was darker in tone then “Bleed American” at times but still featured the same catchy lyrics that the band has become know for.
That brings us to their latest CD, “Chase This Light.” The CD manages to bring back the pop sound of “Bleed American” while still building on what they did with “Futures.” The album features several songs that where originally meant for Jim Adkin’s solo project including the single “Big Casino,” which calls to mind the band’s earlier hit “Sweetness” from “Bleed American.” The album’s highlight is the catchy but bittersweet “Always Be,” which features an 80s pop sound and a chorus that will get stuck in your head for days.
The sound of laughter that follows the chorus on “Let It Be” stays in step with the song’s message of laughing things off.
The slow track “Gotta Be Somebody’s Blues” is another of the album’s bright spots. The string arrangement couples perfectly with the dark lyrics and vocals to create a genuinely creepy sound.
Other notable songs include the title track and the finale: “Dizzy,” which mourns a lost relationship and seeks a way to make things right again.
Jimmy Eat World continues to find a good balance between good production values and over-production, as “Chase This Light” never strays into the latter. The band stepped into the producer’s role on this CD with help from Chris Testa, who is known for his work with the Dixie Chicks and Executive Producer Butch Vig, who has worked with bands like Nirvana and the Smashing Pumpkins. The diverse backgrounds that these producers bring to the table help to keep the album from getting boring or repetitive while still preserving Jimmy Eat World’s trademark sound.
Overall, “Chase This Light” is yet another solid album from one of alternative rock’s steadiest bands. Fans of the band will appreciate the throw back sound while casual listeners can simply enjoy the musicianship and clever songwriting that the band is known for. Jimmy Eat World takes elements from their previous and goes in new directions with them, breaking new ground as they go but never forgetting where they came from.
Colin McGlinchey is a third-year student at West Chester University majoring in elementary education. He can be reached at CM646588@wcupa.edu.