12 October 2013

Pearl Jam - Lightning Bolt

So, the most famousest band ever to be named after jism have a new album out. It’s their 10th official album which they could have called Ten if they hadn’t ruined it for themselves. It just goes to show what a difference forward planning can make.

For those who require background information on the band it goes something like this: 90’s Seattle – Andrew Wood died –  “I’m going hungry” - Ten sells millions – Vs  sells millions – Pearl Jam super famous - War with Ticketmaster – bit less famous- lots of drummers-10th album release. There you go. If you need more then Wikipedia awaits you.

Lightning Bolt, like Backspacer and Pearl Jam before it, is more of a straight forward rock album than earlier releases such as No Code or Yield.  While that could be seen as a critical thing I don’t think it is, just that the band are comfortable with who and what they are. That a band can be relevant and sound so fresh 23 years into their career is a very rare thing, particularly one with the same core line up since their inception. Not including drummers...

Individually there isn’t one inferior track on Lightning Bolt but as a collection there’s something not right. It starts off great with Getaway and Mind Your Manners, the latter being an odd choice of lead single. It’s 2 ½ minutes of CBGB’s style punk. The title track Is a frenetic burst of anger that sounds invigorating. But then the rest of the album slows down the pace and it never really gets going again. The final three songs are all really mellow and the album kind of peters out, which is a disappointment. As I said before, none of them are bad songs at all; they just could have been arranged a bit better.

This isn’t the best album Pearl Jam have ever done and it’s not going to convert them any naysayers but it’s still really good and has at least three songs that are going to be classics.

7 out of 10 - This is good and well worth a check

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