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Classic rock sound returns with Pearl Jam's latest release...
on 13 May 2006
Away from the rock scene for 4 years, Pearl Jam wastes absolutely no time in announcing their return to rock with their self-titled new album, also known as the Avocado album. From the first notes of Life Wasted and World Wide Suicide it's clear that a Pearl Jam that sounds more of the VS and Vitology era than the Yield and Riot Act era has returned. This album has more of the classic Pearl Jam sound and less of the chaotic experimentation that marred more recent albums.
The new album features a stripped down, tighter, and more pure rock sound. Strong lead and rhythm guitar work by Gossard and Stone populate the songs, while Vedder alternates his tightly wound growling vocals with tenderness. Guitar solos, unheard for years, have returned with a vengeance and Jeff Ament's bass lines fit perfectly in the mix. This album is free of the overproduction and samples that passes as rock today, and shows us just how good a band together 15 years can sound.
Standout rockers include World Wide Suicide, Comatose, Severed Hand, and Big Wave. More melodic tracks like Markers in the Sand and Army Reserve fit in nicely without going too soft. Unemployed, Come Back, and Inside Job are more of the Daughter type PJ songs. The only discordant note on this album is the track Parachutes, with its Beatles or Queen like melodies and odd chord changes. Although a good song on its own, it basically stops the flow of the album dead in its tracks and would have been better suited as a hidden track or a B-side. This is an album more geared towards long time fans of rock in general and PJ in particular. It may not have a lot of commercial viability, which to Pearl Jam is a source of pride, but does satisfy a void in rock and roll which has existed for too long. Recommended.