For many a year, this is a band I have chalked off as one that had about two or three good song and their albums were not doing anything for me. To be honest, I have not really been listening either due to my own prejudices and dislike of the term 'emo' which is strange as some of my favourite records and artists can be best described using that term. But I am also one for challenging my own opinions of a band and their world when new songs or albums come out and whilst compiling tracks for a radio I create, I used one of the songs from this album that was released as a single before the song came out and it was a pleasant surprise. But one song that impresses does not mean the album will follow suit, and I am curious as to how it has turned out. I am not going to do a history lesson about the Arizonian natives, as I will presume that it you are reading this that they are a name you would have heard of; so, it is time to see how integral these blues are to the current music scene.
01 - You with Me
The album starts with a soft number to what I am used to from the band, it sounds like they have been investing in dream pop a little on this song. I like the sound that comes from this song, it is not an instant hit to be honest and that is a good thing to be honest. Song like this take time to reveal their magic and it is a one that keeps on delivering with each play; the riff, the subtle drumming, the spaces between the words and the solo are brilliant. A really good introduction to the album.
02 - Sure and Certain
This song is quite possibly the best song of the album, month and year - this is the aforementioned song that I commented about in the introduction to the album that made me take a second look at this band. A song about the fragile state of life and relationships, it is a deep number that hooked into something in me on an emotional level that I was not expecting and that chorus is absolutely golden. It is the high-water mark of this album and a standard to which the rest of the album will be compared to, what a song!
03 - It Matters
A keyboard introduction to this song about being trapped and doomed in a dead-end relationship, this gentle number is a number that sounds like it will be a number that has their fans singing in unison and with passion. It is one that I can give or take, not a bad song that has third single wrote all over it and it drifts by with a pleasant tune that does not offend or make too much of an impress to be honest.
04 - Pretty Grids
This number starts off with a heavy bass tone, it is another slow number that discusses missed opportunities and how things do not always go the way that you want it to. It is another slower number that takes a while to reveal itself fully, one that takes a few spins to make sense and one that is worth the time. This slow number is a definite sleeper hit from this album.
05 - Pass the Baby
The slow passage for this album is still ongoing, with this one we are back in a dream-pop vibe and it is one that almost loses my attention. Slower number are fine, but too many in a row can be a bad thing for an album, but then around three minute, fifty seconds mark the band drops one of the heaviest sections of the album with a riff and bassline combination that would not be out of place on a classic era sludge metal album. It is a brilliant ending and saves the song, adding another layer of intrigue to this album.
06 - Get Right
This was the first song to be released off the album as a promo track, it follows on with a heavy riff that grabs you by the collar and it is a brilliant riff that sounds almost sonic in comparison of a lot of the Jimmy Eat World music that I have heard and it is a stomping tune. I can see why it was used to get people's attention, it is a great riff and it one of those numbers that makes the hairs on your neck stand to attention.
07 - You Are Free
Another love song from Jimmy Eat World on this one, it is one that drifts over you and it will be one that I can see going down very well with their fan base. For me it is a filler song, nothing awful but it is one that I am not going to miss if I do not hear it again.
08 - The End Is Beautiful
A song about letting go of pain and not letting something take your focus, this song is one of the best love songs on the album. It is a heartbreaker and it is one that will be painful for people at times, but it is also one that will be a companion to the lonely on the long, dark nights of the soul. Focusing on the keyboard, acoustic guitar and the lyrics, it will be a song that will be hailed as a classic by their fans and it might get a few new ones as well.
09 - Through
When I first heard this, the opening sounded a little too weak for my tastes and I was going to write it off as another filler; but I will be honest and say that they pull something out of the back here that I was not expecting - an instant classic. The chorus and solo on this album grab your attention is almost criminal, the solo especially is a simple and effective number that gets me excited each time it is played - brilliant, simply brilliant.
10 - Integrity Blues
The penultimate and title track starts off with the sounds of a horn and guitar, this song deals with the point of view that life is never figured out, that it is always a work in progress which I can totally appreciate and understand. It is a song built on a simple passage of music, one that does not leap out as the most existing number one the album, but it is a beautiful reminder that we do not need to have everything sorted and sometimes you will fall and sometimes you will win. It sounds like it will break a thousand hearts.
11 - Pol Rogers
'Pol Rogers' ends this album with an admission of being alone, but finding solace and companionship in another who makes the world ok for now, but knowing that it will probably not last. It is another slow build, which I think is the specialty for the band on this album. Mixing in the horns once again, it feels like the natural companion piece to 'Integrity Blues' and it has a gentle, yet large feeling to end this album. I cannot help but enjoy the song, it is not to my normal tastes, but I am still loving it.
I like it when a band can make a record that makes me change my attitude and eat my words, Jimmy Eat World have done that with this record. I will admit that it is top heavy with slower number and they would be an argument for a bit of energy to be added to the album, but also I see a craftsmanship to the music that is not always visible from a lot of bands that can be considered their peers. It has a few too many slower number on this album that I would have gone for, but it is also one of those albums that has some real surprises for me. So, whilst it is not my album of the year, it is a contender for my surprise of the year and it might just have the best song of 2016 as well - well played Jimmy Eat World, well played.
8 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart
Top track - Sure and Certain
You can purchase Integrity Blues on Amazon here.
You can visit the Jimmy Eat World website here (at the time of writing, there are links for purchasing the album).
You can follow the activities of Jimmy Eat World on Facebook here.
You can stream Integrity Blues on Spotify here.
You can stream Integrity Blues on Deezer here.
You can stream Integrity Blues on Tidal here.