Pearl Jam - Lightning Bolt

Pearl Jam are back!

It’s been two decades since Pearl Jam released Ten, an album that shaped much of the ‘90s grunge scene and they are back harder than before with Lightning Bolt. Lightning Bolt marks the return for Pearl Jam since the release in 2009 of Backspacer, a highly acclaimed album but a much more mellow Pearl Jam than what fans were used to. Lightning Bolt goes back to their grunge roots and their 10th studio album packs a punch that we are used to.

Opening track ‘Getaway’ kicks off with the Pearl Jam sound we have come to know. It’s full of the guitar riff we expect and an upbeat intro to what is a wide and varied album. It has the edgy attitude of something off Vitalogy.

First released single ‘Mind Your Manners’ is a stark introduction, a fast paced energetic track, led by guitarist Stone Gossard. It is a catchy tune, but would hold it’s own on ‘90s releases Vs or Ten. Quite possibly the most grunge track on the album, reminiscent of ‘Black’, ‘Porch’ or ‘Spin the Black Circle’.

The second single ‘Sirens’ and I think that this will be many listeners favourite track from the album. It’s stripped back and raw, highlighting Vedder’s vocals. It’s a slower track, highlighting the variation of this album.

‘Infallible’ is the most modern sounding of the tracks, to a point of almost sounding un-Pearl Jam at some points (only Vedder’s recognisable vocals bring you back). It is an alternate sound, with synths kicking, but quite fitting. It might take a couple of listens but this will be a favourite for some.

‘Sleeping By Myself’ is taken from Vedder’s solo project - Ukulele Songs. It translates well to the full band treatment, and doesn’t lose any of the genuineness of the track. It highlights a slower , quitter last few tracks of the album. It is a nice change of pace and a contrast to the energetic pace which the album starts.

Lightning Bolt is refreshing, not bad for a band kicking into its third decade. This is the longest break between albums for them, with Vedder focussing on his Solo album and the bands 20th anniversary over the past four and half years. This is a reinvigorated Pearl Jam, an album that will have multiple hits, an album that any fan from the past three decades will associate with and find something they like.

Lightning Bolt is released in Australia on Friday 11th October and Pearl Jam will be in Australia for The Big Day Out tour in mid-late January, for more information see - bigdayout.com/

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