Rolling Stone gets the early scoop on Pearl Jam’s first new studio album (out May 2) in four years. Once (say, 1993-1994) the biggest rock band in America, the band is seemingly back to their former glory. Though, I feel it’s worth noting that 1996’s No Code and 1998’s Yield are pretty good records, especially the latter. Here’s what Rolling Stone master writer David Fricke has to say in his four-star review:
However you define grunge music, Pearl Jam didn’t play it. They were, from jump street, a classic rock band, building their bawl with iron-guitar bones and an arena-vocal lust that came right from Zeppelin, early-Seventies Who and mid-Eighties U2 (with distortion instead of the Edge’s glass-guitar harmonics). But Pearl Jam have not been this consistently dirty and determined in the studio since they subbed for Crazy Horse on Neil Young’s 1995 Mirror Ball. I own two complete tours’ worth of Pearl Jam’s official-bootleg concert CDs, and this record’s five-song blastoff (“Life Wasted,” “World Wide Suicide,” “Comatose,” “Severed Hand” and “Marker in the Sand”) is right up there in punch and crust with my favorite nights in that live series (Seattle, 11/6/00, and New Orleans, 4/8/03, to name two). And whenever the guitars take over, which is a lot — Gossard and McCready’s slugging AC/DC-like intro to “Life Wasted”; McCready’s wild wah-wah ride in “Big Wave”; the way he cracks Vedder’s gloom in “Parachutes” like heat lightning — it reminds me that Gossard and McCready deserved to be on our 2003 “Greatest Guitarists” list. Permit me to admit it here: I screwed up.
If you wanna hear the first single, “World Wide Suicide,” click here.