Oh my god I could never have dreamed it would be this good, Just Breathe, Amongst The Waves & Unthought Known are just 3 of the best songs to follow each other on any album they've done before.
It's getting a bit of a cliché now with PJ fans but yes this is the most accessible album they've done in ages, as well as these 3 tracks the album kicks off with 4 great rockers, Gonna See my Friend, great opener followed by the brilliant Got Some, then the poptastic but fan based controversial The Fixer. Johnny Guitar sounds different to anything they've done before and gets a great funky Mike McCready guitar work out half way through
The 3 stand outs mentioned are stunning, Just Breathe evokes Vedder's work on the Into the Wild soundtrack and is just heart breaking. Amongst & Thought are like Given to Fly & In Hiding off Yield and just soar and soar like only Pearl Jam can.
It's also the most fun album they've done, they are in good spirits and Vedder laying off the politics for once has done the record the world of good, The optimism in the lyrics is also balanced with some dark stuff as well but unlike the angry young man flavour of their previous self titled 2006 album it doesn't seem heavy and flows so much better plus we don't get anything as dire as Come Back.
The just over 36 minutes is brief but you feel anything but short changed and just feel compelled to to stick right back on. I've only listened to it on MP3 so far but have my vinyl now an intend on savouring this afternoon.
A happier PJ is a nice change and where it doesn't quite touch the brilliance of Vs, Vitalogy and Yield it bests the last 3 studio albums without a doubt. The choice to enlist Brendan O'Brien cannot be underestimated his touch is essential to the overall feel of the album and decision to utilise strings for the first time adds an angle to their music never heard before, for a band who are approaching 20 years old it is an achievement they could release an album this good.
Some may tire at the optimism included in this record and the positive energy and hope Eddie returns to the darkness of Vitalogy but this is a great mix of the freshness that we heard back when Ten was first released alongside the consistency that hasn't been heard since 1998's Yield.
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