Chase This Light

Chase This Light is not a genre-defying album for the history books – it just gives the impression that Jimmy Eat World are still capable of producing one.

You wouldn’t think from their defining hit ‘The Middle’ that Jimmy Eat World were one of the emo pioneers. But before the overtly college rock tunes of 2001’s Bleed American, JEW were indeed a dark, emotive band that made no concessions to the mass market.

It’s only with Chase This Light that they hit the point of no return: will they go back to their gritty emo roots, like their peers Cave In, or continue appeasing MTV, as per My Chemical Romance?

For their sake, we won’t bring their last album Futures into the debate. Bar a few tracks like ‘Work’ it was a cheesy, directionless waste of time. But given the quality of their work up until that juncture, they deserve a second chance.

The verdict on Chase This Light is that it continues their foray into the radio-friendly field, but thankfully without ever getting saccharine. Jim Adkins’s voice has become more polished just as they’ve become a little more edgy.

And the combination works.

‘Always Be’ is a glorious, driving rock song with fist-in-the-air sensibilities of gigantic proportions. Meanwhile ‘Gotta Be Someone’s Blues’ – this album’s ‘Get It Faster’, if you will – introduces a string section to add to the menacing mood. And though the title tune may have ‘album track’ written all over it, it’s a well-timed respite from the energetic moments surrounding it.

Lyrically too, the band are on form. For instance, there’s a cutting reference to “talking points from talking heads with automated smiles” on ‘Electable (Give It Up)’.

But Chase This Light is not a genre-defying album for the history books – it just gives the impression that Jimmy Eat World are still capable of producing one.

 

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