I'm sure the rest of the members of Brad find it irritating that their band is oft described as "Stone Gossard's side project", and whilst the sum of their parts makes it much more than that, you have to wonder if Brad would receive the same amount of coverage without their famed guitarist in the ranks.
Of course, anyone familiar with Brad's previous work will know that the key selling point of the music is actually the wonderfully warm vocals of Shawn Smith. Debut album 'Shame' introduced us to this rare talent and anyone who hasn't heard 'Screen' or '20th Century' from that album have missed out.
The new album sustains that warmth of feeling; this is an album for late at night when you're ready to relax and wind down after a long day. 'Brothers and Sisters' opens up as the album means to go on, all mellow instrumentation and Smith's voice as soulful as anything in "rock". The mood is maintained in the catchy 'Shinin'' and the titles elsewhere give away the trend: 'Never Let Each Other Down', 'If You Could Make It Good' and 'Takin' It Easy'. They definitely are 'Takin' It Easy'!
'Welcome To Discovery Park' lacks the darkness of previous outings (and in particular, 'Shame') and for me, fails to reach the peaks of the other albums. That doesn't mean to say it isn't a good album. It is, but you'll need to be in the right mood to enjoy it. And anyone on the lookout for Pearl Jam rockers - you're in the wrong place.