Integrity Blues is the ninth studio album by the American rock band Jimmy Eat World, released on October 21.
By Jane Howkins.
Jimmy Eat World recently released their ninth studio album and rest assured, it’s very good. There have been some concerns amongst fans of late about the future of the band and what the latest album might sound like, but with Integrity Blues those fears should be left well and truly at the door.
For those unaware, JEW went on hiatus for a couple of years, with some assuming that this was just a fancy way of announcing their break-up – pretty common within the music industry. Obviously this didn’t happen, however the content here is probably going to be pretty different to what fans were expecting. Integrity Blues has been referred to a few times as a ‘spiritual successor’ to 2001’s classic Bleed American, and in a sense that’s quite a reasonable claim. That album is often hailed by fans as JEW’s masterpiece, and their ninth album has a similar tone and depth to it. Nevertheless, the new songs seem to be a little deeper and the band sound like their have matured, which is to be expected considering that there are fifteen years between Bleed American and Integrity Blues.
It’s also a lot more expansive and introspective than previous releases, being the sort of album that one has to listen to multiple times in order to catch everything that is going on. The themes contained within Integrity Blues are as a whole quite melancholy, giving more of a hint into the private world of frontman Jim Adkins. 2013’s Damage was a happier record and so the darkness here may put some people off, but it makes the emotions contained within the songs feel very real, and it works for the most part.You With Me in particular shows just how much the band have grown as songwriters, and whilst there aren’t as many straight up rock songs as the band have produced in the past, there are still a few songs that convey that sound, such as Through.
This is the sound of a band who know what they want to do and how to achieve that. A band who have managed to successfully combine their old successes with new elements added in. Songs such as You Are Free and The End Is Beautiful occasionally veer off into the realms of cheesiness, but the line between being corny is and heartfelt is always a murky one, and if that is the only real complaint to find in the album as a whole then Jimmy Eat World must certainly be doing something right.