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Jimmy Eat World interview

| October 1, 2010

Searching For A Former Clarity

Midway through Jimmy Eat World’s seventh studio effort, Invented (Interscope), the album presents its immediate and undeniable pop apex in “Coffee And Cigarettes.” The song finds the band at its power-pop: finest all huge harmonized hooks and crunching riffs buzzing just under frontman Jim Adkins’ honey-laden, eternally boyish vocals.

It also serves as the sort of nostalgia-laden adolescent-voiced anthem the members of Jimmy Eat World – guitarist/vocalist Tom Linton, drummer Zach Lind, and bassist Rich Burch – have become known for producing across their body of work. Yet upon listening to the chorus (“Coffee and cigarettes/As simple as it gets/Of all the things I think I’ll miss/It’s staying up with you”), it becomes clear the very adult Adkins is not telling a story in his own voice. Turns out, that’s the case with much of Invented.

Appearing: 10/7 at Riviera Theatre (4750 N. Broadway) in Chicago.

“I would say this is probably the deepest into pure character writing that we’ve gone,” Adkins proffers, “where the main voice in each song may or may not be a real person, or definitely is not me.”

Indeed, Invented is upfront with the succinct lyrical storytelling within its songs. Case in point, the tense and taut silent treatment of uneasy and hyperactive rocker “Higher Devotion,” which starts off, “The quiet should be nice but isn’t/I guess we’re going to spend the day like this/In psychic screaming,” going on to chronicle a couples’ passive aggression. Yet the singer is quick to dismiss the assumption that character pieces means an entirely impersonal effort.

“Even in the most bizarre science fiction, there’s still elements of your own observations and feelings that you draw on,” the singer confirms of his writing process. “But yeah, I would say very little of everything that I’ve written, lyric-wise, for the last couple records has been . . . wholly a me-first-person perspective kind of narrative.”

Surrounding its storytelling lyrics, Invented finds Jimmy Eat World returning to the atmospheric and layered flourishes that defined earlier efforts such as select moments off 2004’s Futures and the band’s classic offering, 1999’s Clarity. While Adkins writes off a conscious influence from the band’s late-’90s effort, Invented does follow the group’s 2009 run of dates celebrating Clarity‘s 10th anniversary. Additionally, the two records share a common link behind the scenes, as longtime collaborator Mark Trombino produced both efforts.

— Jaime de’Medici

For the full story, grab the October issue of Illinois Entertainer, available free throughout Chicagoland.

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