Jimmy Eat World : Manchester Academy

Who told the accountants they could have rock?

Who told the accountants they could have rock? In tit-about-arse 2002 the rope-bearded metal nutterdom of System Of A Down is the mainstream and the outsiders are well-adjusted middle class Sunblest junkies with the pension plans at 23. Take Jimmy Eat World: now that they’ve neutered emo, it no longer needs a political spark, severe personality disorder (medically known as Cuomo’s Syndrome) or, indeed, much emotion to speak of. Instead it can have sensible haircuts, guilt-free entry to the charts and tunes like Jon Bon Jovi’s leather kecks exploding.

Because JEW are caught right between Rival Schools‘ righteous indie integrity and the MTV music awards crack canapé enclosure. The material from their ‘Static Prevails’ and ‘Clarity’ albums – ‘Rockstar’, ‘Blister’, ‘Goodbye Sky Harbor’ – reveal a band happy to share a 3-foot-square dressing room with Death Cab For Cutie for eternity, all heartbreak-or-heartburn guitar squalls and cries of “Take back the radio!”. Then, at the opposite end of the playlist meeting, there’s the supershiny ‘Jimmy Eat World’ smasheroonies – ‘Salt Sweat Sugar’, ‘Sweetness’, ‘The Middle’ – all gloriously formed, candy-coated, easy-to-swallow emo-lite. They’re perfect prom songs from the perfect prom dates – Jim Adkins even stops to hail Manchester’s “rich tradition of songwriters” like he’s being introduced to the fucking Mayor.

Yet, despite the fantastic tunes, the rise of JEW marks the invention of Fine Thanks For Askingcore, a genre which scientists have already proved it’s physically impossible to mosh to. But you can fill out a tax return to it no problem.

Mark Beaumont