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Jimmy Eat World

"Static Prevails" CD (Capitol)

This early album sounds like it - the band's ideas seem not entirely formed, their post-punk / emo influences are patches on their sleeves. Sure, it's melodic, but there just isn't much here worth hearing. Compared to the music of 1996, it's relatively generic, resonating with D.C. post-core guitar parts and other notions cribbed from independent sources. Considering that major labels were still signing almost any indie band willing to ink a deal at that time, this sounds like one of Capitol's attempts at trying to jump on the bandwagon.

"Bleed American" CD (Dreamworks)

There are a few great singles on this record ("Sweetness," "If You Don't, Don't") but taken as a whole, it seems like a bit of a let-down after "Clarity," or perhaps what's really going on here is that there's a formula at work - blend a few energetic rock tracks with some softer, more introspective tunes to provide a measure of dynamic balance (see the transition from "Sweetness" to "Hear You Me"), write lyrics about feeling lonely and some songs that seem to articulate the frustration of being young ... presto, you have an album that, with a different major label backing it, sold a couple of million copies. Not to begrudge their success because they've certainly paid their dues, but this album strikes me as a couple of great songs and a handful of decent b-sides. The rest is largely disposable.

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Last modified on Wednesday, March 26, 2008