Jimmy Eat World at the SBC
A few weeks ago, while doing an interview on NPR's Fresh Air, the members of Sleater-Kinney were asked if they ever considered themselves part of the '90s Riot Grrrl movement. The awkward, uncomfortable silence that followed spoke volumes.
The members of Jimmy Eat World probably feel that same discomfort whenever reporters suggest they're the patron saints of the emo movement, but it's more than just journalistic laziness that accounts for the label. More than any other successful rock band, Jimmy Eat World conveys what people perceive to be the emo ethos. The band's music is earnest, impassioned, nakedly emotional, and unapologetically sensitive, all the while rocking out in the manner you'd expect from true descendants of American punk.
JEW's most recent album, 2004's much-labored-over Futures, is not its finest work (that honor goes to 1999's Clarity), but it's a striking demonstration of the Arizona quartet's strengths and limitations. Unlike some of its peers, this band doesn't do funny or ironic (at least not very effectively) and it's not loaded with dark mystery or sexy nihilism. Jim Adkins and his longtime cohorts simply get by on sincerity and musical acumen.
Over the last decade, the group has steadily refined the formula introduced on 1996's "Thinking, That's All": start-stop rhythms, crunchy guitars, and feverish choruses with overlapping vocals. The band's greatest musical asset is its knack for intricate harmonies, with Adkins and guitarist Tom Linton encircling each other and lending a melodious quality to even the most bludgeoning rockers.
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Jimmy Eat World
Sun, Aug 21
One SBC Center Parkway
Ultimately, the tracks that stand out are the rare moments when everything slows down. Clarity's "Table For Glasses" showcased the band at its most graceful and heartfelt, a vibe nearly recreated on Futures' "Drugs or Me." Chronicling the chemically induced breakdown of a relationship, this song dares to skirt the edges of preachiness and emerges as surprisingly moving. Just like much of Jimmy Eat World's catalog. •