Suggestive of a life just clinging on, on announcement, the title to Jimmy Eat World’s 10th album felt more than a little foreboding. 2016’s ‘Integrity Blues’ had pleasantly surprised with its ‘more is more’ approach, though previous release ‘Damage’ meant expectations were still tempered. Led by single ‘All The Way (Stay)’, it was instantly clear however that ‘Surviving’ was intent on going down a route with decidedly less sheen. While the Garbage-esque ‘Recommit’ and synth-led ‘555’ mistakenly opt for something slicker, the record generally is a bombastic showing of rousing vocals and big choruses. Jimmy Eat World haven’t been this direct in years, and it’s a hugely welcome change of pace.
Against the backdrop of vocalist/guitarist Jim Adkins describing ‘Surviving’ as an album outlining his return to control from self-doubt, the understanding of the title also takes on a new meaning. ‘Delivery’ outlines a belief in continual potential (“the life we build we never stop creating”), whereas ‘Diamond’ encourages listeners to refrain from external pressures and to take your time in life. Moments of political commentary sneak in, such as the moral subversion of ‘Criminal Energy’, but overall this is an unfiltered and defiant release from the emo legends. 25 years in, Jimmy Eat World prove that simply surviving can be much more than accepting a limp existence. It leaves the door open to continue doing something great.