Over the band's now 20 years-and particularly since achieving mainstream success over the last dozen-Jimmy Eat World has been a cards-on-the-table type of band, forging a no-frills style of soaringly melodic emo.
While Damage won't likely bring them many new fans-save a few on the younger end of the spectrum who are just becoming aware of the world of rock music-Jimmy Eat World's latest is a surprisingly strong album, especially for those left a little flat by the last few records.
One of the band's greatest strengths has always been the sincerity and relatability in Jim Adkins' lyrics, which have matched often-simple phrases to a core of adolescent yearning with powerful results. Adkins describes Damage as an "adult breakup record" and while being no less relatable, it also makes for a more cohesive and impactful batch of songs.
Though acoustic guitars take a bit more prominent place in the mix, Jimmy Eat World and producer Alain Johannes smartly avoid turning to conventions like strings or piano ballads to frame Damage's breakup songs.
"I Will Steal You Back," "How You'd Have Me," and the refreshingly demo-like lovelorn coda of album closer "You Were Good" are among the top songs, but Damage, unlike most of the band's albums, plays out best in one complete listen.
Damage makes the most of the band's familiar elements while adding a touch more adult sophistication. Jimmy Eat World's best since the band's 2001 breakthrough Bleed American, this record proves that in the right hands, emo ages very well.