Album Title: Pearl Jam
Release Date: May 2, 2006
Fifteen years since Pearl Jam first invaded the airwaves as part of the
early 90s Seattle explosion (no, I won't use the "G" word) they've released
their eighth studio album. And I'm happy to report that they survived the
Spice Girls-Britney-Boy Band crazes relatively unscathed.
This latest, self-titled effort is a fine album but with few surprises. The
unmistakable vibrating rumble of Eddie Vedder's voice perfectly captures his
sombre, reflective lyrics. The band is solid: guitarists Stone Gossard and
Mike McCready unleash their duelling licks overtop the tight rhythm section
of bassist Jeff Ament and drummer Matt Cameron. Yes, my head banged with
Opening straight rock tracks "Life Wasted" and "World Wide Suicide" have
been serviced to radio and set the roller coaster in motion. Standout tracks
for me include the acoustic guitar and keyboard-laden "Parachutes" and the
closing opus "Inside Job". Both tunes represent the laid back feel that
dominates the latter half of the album. My only criticism is that musically
there's little in the way of surprise.
Over the years Pearl Jam has remained fairly consistent with their socially
conscious themes, standing the test of time without yet seeming preachy or
boring, both stepping stones towards irrelevancy. Issues such as war,
hypocrisy, despair, hope, and redemption have been explored on previous
Pearl Jam recordings, reminding us that causes should never be ignored once
they cease being trendy.
The conclusion? Although this CD won't return them to rock's stratosphere it
should please both casual and hardcore fans. And there are enough of them to
keep Pearl Jam going for a while longer.
Writer: DJ Richie Dynamite