Jimmy Eat World

The first lyric on Jimmy Eat World's new album, Chase This Light, is a self-assured (if not presumptuous) one-word imperative: "Stay." But an enormous wall of distorted guitars then sucker-punches the listener, just before a raucous burst of power-drill-buzzing guitars bolts the listener to the chair. (In other words, vocalist/songwriter Jim Adkins is basically saying, "Um, yeah, you're not going anywhere for the next 40 minutes.") This particular song ("Big Casino") is perfectly crafted to be an album opener in the same way that the song "Bleed American" — which was renamed "Salt Sweat Sugar" after September 11 — demanded one's full attention from the get-go on the band's self-titled 2001 album. That disc catapulted the Arizona quartet into the mainstream on the strength of undeniably catchy, radio-ready singles such as "The Middle" and "A Praise Chorus." And like those songs, Light finds Adkins painting vivid, nostalgic scenes of the simple moments that are often life's most exciting. Light cements Jimmy Eat World as a band that banks on its strengths (i.e., inventive arrangements that transcend the "emo" tag and glossy production tricks) to create infectious music that's familiar but doesn't pander to a formula. In the process, it finds that elusive place in pop music where mental pictures of a romanticized past serve as fuel to push one toward the mysterious future.


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