An understated but typically strong return...

Call me old (god knows I feel it), but there was a time when the announcement of a new Jimmy Eat World album would have been met with much more fanfare than with which ‘Surviving’ was met.

Disappointing? Perhaps, but fitting? Certainly. Jimmy Eat World have, for the last twenty-five years, provided a mouthpiece for the underdogs, the underappreciated and the unassuming. That 'Surviving', their tenth studio album, should be released with such little hype surrounding it shouldn’t be a testament to the band’s popularity, more the fact they simply don’t need to rely on a media circus. Indeed, their back catalogue certainly warrants such confidence, but perhaps more importantly, their new material still speaks volumes as well. 

At just ten tracks, 'Surviving' falls on the shorter side of typical for Jimmy Eat World. Rather than feel fleeting however, it feels succinct, even elegant. Striking the balance perfectly between Classic Jimmy Eat World and a band with their eyes to the future, the likes of opening number ‘Surviving’ and later ‘Diamond’ could quite easily have been taken from 2001’s seminal 'Bleed American', while elsewhere ‘555’ is sleek and stylish, its production the best across the record.

Understated in its delivery yet resplendent in its execution, it’s arguably an album highlight; its understated nature allowing every nuance, both emotional and otherwise, to really stand out. 

At their core, Jimmy Eat World are an emo band in the (almost) truest sense of the word. And 'Surviving' certainly feels like an emo album. It’s personal yet resonates massively, it’s introspective while harbouring bombast in equal measure. It succeeds in bringing a 90s aesthetic kicking and screaming in to the 21st century, shedding the nostalgia in favour of contemporary pop pomp, all delivered with Jim Adkins’ trademark optimism and heart-on-sleeve lyricism.

Whether there’s enough on offer here to convert any naysayers remains to be seen. But ten albums and 25 years into their career, it’s pretty obvious that Jimmy Eat World are here to stay. As long as they keep putting out records as strong as 'Surviving', who are we to complain.

8/10

Words: Dave Beech

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