Jimmy Eat World’s seventh album, Damage, out June 11th on RCA, was recorded last October in producer Alain Johannes’ Los Angeles home. Singer-guitarist Jim Adkins says that was a new experience for the four-piece band.
“We used tape for the first time in a long time, as well as computer,” Adkins tells Rolling Stone. “I hate saying more raw, but it’s more raw and warm. We just set up all around Alain’s house. There were instruments in his bedroom and drums in his living room. Just noise all day long. There was less an emphasis on it being clean and perfect. There’s a lot of stuff that’s more about the performance than it sounding pristine. And I think it feels better for what the songs are.”
The resulting album, the follow-up to the Arizona rock band’s 2010 LP Invented, will be their first release since leaving Interscope. Damage, which Adkins calls “pretty energetic,” centers on familiar subject matter for Jimmy Eat World, whose debut Static Prevails came out in 1996. The band started writing the album in early 2012 after finishing tours in support of Invented and eventually realized the songs were circling a time-tested subject – in a new way.
“I think with Invented [there was] an outline that it would be themed around,” Adkins says. “Not necessarily a subject, but we had a direction before we wrote it. As you get older it’s more interesting to have a theme that everything tries to support – I would say this album has a theme. I would describe it as an attempt at making an adult breakup record. The consequences to what the characters are going through are more significant. There’s just more to it. I’m 37 and the world around me is a lot different than when I was writing breakup songs in my 20s. I tried to reflect that in what the lyrics are.”
Although no lead single has been determined, Damage‘s title track will be released on April 20th as a special Record Store Day seven-inch. The disc will also include a cover of Radiohead’s “Stop Whispering,” which Adkins says the band selected because it’s a good song “that you never hear anyone play.” While Adkins is hesitant to describe any of the album’s songs specifically, noting that this is his first interview discussing the record, he does say that there is “slightly more of an emphasis on acoustic guitar, although I wouldn’t say it’s an acoustic album.
“I think we’re really proud of the record,” he adds. “It’s something we put a lot of work into and we really wanted to get right, whatever that meant for the song. I don’t think it’s that dissimilar to things we’ve done in the past.”
Jimmy Eat World will support Damage with a world tour, which kicks off in May. The band also hopes to embark on a special tour of small Arizona towns. Adkins notes that this tour has yet to be confirmed, but says fans can expect an announcement “any day.” Jimmy Eat World officially inked their new deal with RCA “very recently,” according to Adkins, after going back and forth with a few different labels.
“There’s a lot of people there we’ve just crossed paths with over the years and who have been really supportive of us even if they didn’t have a stake in how our records did,” Adkins says. “It’s an interesting time. It’s our best educated guess on where we feel comfortable being.”