UnRated Magazine


Music ArchivesMusic Archives

Pearl Jam - Lightning Bolt

Monkeywrench (Republic Records) - October 15, 2013

Review by Trent McMartin

Pearl Jam - Lightning Bolt (2013)Hard pounding rockers typify the first half ("Getaway," "Mind Your Manners, "and "My Father's Son"). The second act loses a little steam, although if they're was one guy who can pull off melancholia it's Eddie Vedder. The upbeat acoustic number "Sleeping By Myself" was first heard on Vedder's 2011 solo album Ukulele Songs, reworked here featuring input from the entire band. "Let the Records Play," dominated by a greasy bluesy rock riff, switches the album's momentum up a little bit, giving listeners a refuge from the Pearl Jamesque rock that rules most of the record up to that point. While the poignant "Future Days," ends things on a high note.

Eddie Vedder seems to have come to terms with middle age, and once again the band feels no need to sound like anything contemporary. Producer Brendan O'Brien's return is welcomed, having worked with Pearl Jam on their previous album Backspacer. O'Brien forces the band to stick to basics, thankfully reducing the emotional molasses that inflicted past records. No more extravagance, just classic rock at its most forthright, with a few stops in between to shed some tears.