Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Continuing 2016’s streak of pop-punk comebacks, Jimmy Eat World released their ninth album, Integrity Blues, Oct. 21. This album shows the band distancing themselves from the early 2000s sound they had shared with their contemporaries such as Green Day and blink-182. Instead, Jimmy Eat World seems to be trying to catch up with modern alternative bands. The result is an album that is diverse yet unfocused.
From the very first track, it’s obvious that this is not the Jimmy Eat World that listeners have grown accustomed to. “You With Me” is a heartfelt love song about the possibilities of romance. The song begins with a dreamy guitar sequence that opens into an alt-rock tune reminiscent of Motion City Soundtrack’s early work. “It Matters” and “Pretty Girls” expand on this style. The band introduces this new sound with precision, so much so that a newcomer to the band’s work would think they’ve been playing like this for years.
The second half of the album is noticeably different from the first. “Get Right” is a thunderous song that draws influence from grunge acts such as Alice in Chains. While “Through” is a classic pop punk song that sounds like a hybrid of Weezer and The Cure. This sudden change in tone is jarring, and as a result the album lacks cohesion.
As an album, “Integrity Blues” is disorganized. However, when taken individually, song by song, it is a reinvigorating return of one of pop-punk’s most influential bands, with a few surprises.