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4.0 out of 5 stars
Pearl Jam
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I have deliberately waited some time before posting this review and there is no doubt this latest and very welcome release needs space and time to breathe. Whilst there are one or two of the earlier tracks which strike an immmediate chord with the listener, it takes several listens to get into the real heart and soul of the album.

Trust me, the wait is worthwhile and very rewarding for those that persist. This is a collection of tracks which really showcases the band's strengths from the upbeat and punky first three tracks, to the atmospheric album closer, Inside Job.

In between we have what, in my opinion, is the real 'standout a mile' track - Gone. I have to see this particular song has become one of my very favourite Pearl Jam tracks up there with the likes of Jeremy and Dissident from the early days. I'm quite surprised that so few of the 40-odd reviewers haven't mentioned this powerhouse of a song - great verse, superb pre-chorus bridge and simple, yet, very effective chorus.

Despite the above hyperbole, I've only given the album 4 stars. This is simply because there are, in my view, one or two fairly weak tracks which don't quite exhibit the same class as the rest. That's a huge same as this is so nearly on a par with Ten and Vs.

Any existing fan of the band will certainly get into this. For those who weren't around in the good ol' grunge days, trust us oldies and purchase without fear. You cannot fail to like such tracks as Life Wasted, World Wide Suicide, Gone, Severed Hand and Inside Job. A very strong record.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 20 September 2011
Being a fan of the band since they began i looked forward to this album to come out. The year is now 2010 and when this album came out a number of years back i listened to this a few times and thought it was well below par and just put it aside. Since buying there latest recording which was amazing i thought i would backtrack through there old stuff and came across this one again and i am so glad i did. For some reason 4 or 5 years later it seems to have been sitting in my collection maturing like a good wine. From start to finish this album has become my favorite pj album even compared to there debut and that is saying something.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 13 February 2009
Pearl Jam are among my favourite bands; music, charisma, attitude and an all-round down-to-earth nature in being able to make remarkable albums. I've loved every album they've produced, except Riot Act, which was the album before this one. Perhaps this was to be the downturn and finishing chapter/s of an ageing rock legend, and when they announced the latest self titled album, deep down I held negative thoughts. I didn't rush out and listen to it. I may never have listened to it, but for their 07 tour, which I attended at Nijmegen, Holland. I was so insistent to see them, I travelled alone, attached to the inevitable mp3 player. I'm very glad I didn't let the album slip by.

Like most have stated, it's a return to a classic Pearl Jam sound - not really a huge point for me, seeing as Binaural is one of my favourites, but comforting none-the-less.

The album starts nice and lively and breeds enthusiasm, with the catchy single, world wide suicide (track 2). An obvious single when you hear it, but that's ok. I particularly like unemployable and Army reserve both for Cameron's super tight drumming (legend) and Mike/Stone's, as ever, outstandingly rich and unique guitar sound.

The album ends with a delightful epic, showing just how creative this band have always been.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 13 April 2013
All the tracks are brilliant here! Pearl Jam have really got this down to a fine art now. Severed Hand is a standout track but Worldwide Suicide, Marker in the Sand, Army Reserve & Inside Job are just superb. Lyrics & music just typical Pearl Jam excellence. This is a "must have" for anyone who likes Pearl Jam, or just likes good music.
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on 1 May 2008
Pearl Jam seems to get a lot of stick from reviewers here for this record.

I actually quite like it. It might not be their best album, but it ís a good one.
Ok, there are a few crap songs on it, like "unemployable"(the opening riff is directly lifted from "driver's seat" by REO speedwagon - no attempt to hide this misdemeanor!) and "army reserve"(Eddie's voice strains beyond artistic expression to become merely unpleasant, ugly, and possibly damaging to the ears). And, yes, there are a few forgettable songs on it as well:"Big Wave" and "Gone"( and "Wasted Reprise" - but this is forgivable: it is a gimmick).
But, hey, don't most albums contain a few duds?

But there are also some good solid, robust songs on it."Life Wasted" and "Worldwide Suicide" are excellent rocking songs with lots of energy and drive (great to listen in your car, if you don't mind chancing a few points on your license);"Marker in the sand" is my favourite and again has great energy. Then there are the slower ballad-type songs "Parachutes" (I've learned to play it on the guitar) and "Come Back" (likewise).

What strikes me about the good songs on this record is their relative straightforwardness and accessibleness. This record is more approachable/easier then previous ones. And, I think it silly to judge the "greatness" of music by the level of accessabilty alone...

All in all, a solid album that might win over a few non-Pearl Jam-'ers, and encourage a further recce into their other material.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 21 July 2013
Wonderful album. Gets a 5 out of 5. One for fans or for just music friends in general. As a latter, this is an album I never tire of listening to.
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on 1 May 2007
There was a long wait for this album after the poor selling, rather flat Riot Act. They clearly intended to get heavier and more aggressive on this album. At first this is great, as Life Wasted blasts out the speakers to begin the album, followed by the catchy Worldwide Suicide. Unfortunately after letting the album sink in over time, it contains a bunch of uninspired songs for the most part. The album sorely misses Stone Gossard's input. Eddie Vedder pushes his voice too hard, and the production is brash, compressed and unsubtle. It's not all bad though, Army Reserve is a great song, with a brilliant bass line from Jeff Ament. Unemployable features a great chorus, and Severed Hand rocks hard. Inside Job has a fantastic intro, but then falls away as the drums come in. ,Come Back is a cheesy ballad, with a distinct mid 80s feel, and heralds the start of Vedder's rather syrupy approach to his slow songs with the band.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 14 September 2006
A real return to form that shows that Pearl Jam's first two albums "Ten" and "Vs." were not a fluke as this sees them returning to the heights that those albums scaled. Right from the start with the opening salvo of "Life Wasted" and "World Wide Suicide" it is clear that the band is reinvigorated and playing at something like their masterful peak. A newly barefaced political conscience supplements rather than replaces their more traditional emotional songs about the everyday and adds another layer to this record.

Later highlights include "Severed Hand", "Unemployable" and the hymnal reprise of "Life Wasted" which is simply gorgeous.

All in all the quality control issues which have blighted their output between "Vitalogy" and "Riot Act" have been done away with and this album is far from the patchy disappointment that some of those albums have represented. The sound is still distinclty late-era Pearl Jam, so fans hoping for a return the lusher, stadium-friendly production of their debut or the sharp focused raw energy of "Vs." may initially be disappointed, but give this record a few spins and you'll quickly realise that this is their best collection of new songs for over a decade and an album worthy of mentioning in the same breath as the previous highlights of their career.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 October 2013
Decided to write a review for this album based on the fact that it only has 4 stars. This is a 5* album from Pearl Jam and one of their best. Opening tracks get the juices flowing in time for some epic tracks later on in the album. Buy it.
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