Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pearl Jam Lighting Bolt MonkeyWrench/Republic 2013

Pearl Jam embraces middle age with perhaps their finest release to date!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com

Eddie Vedder may well be rock and rolls answer to Oscar Wilde. Having grown up on what was once considered to be rock and rolls saving grace in grunge rock, I realized there was something horribly wrong and utterly disingenuous about twenty year old millionaires singing about the wrongs they have encountered in their short lives.

Unlike the vast majority of their contemporaries that died a sometimes self-inflicted death of narcissistic overkill, Pearl Jam has evolved and grown while never relinquishing their artistic integrity or raw roots foundation. A blow by of blow of tunes here would be an exercise in redundancy, if you know the band you know the sound. The sound of Lighting Bolt is a microcosm of introspection coupled with a laser like lyrical focus. A sonic path less traveled by many includes gut wrenching ballads, alternative blues riffs and a grounded melodic sense of self that seems to have been missing from the band since perhaps Yield.

Some artists allow middle age to kick their collective ass, some simply never figure out when to say when. Pearl Jam has transcending the modern evolutionary phase that has killed far better bands to rightfully assume their place as perhaps the best rock and roll band in America. To say music is art is noble if not naive. Music is a business. Pearl Jam goes about the business of making music that is still cutting edge and just slightly ahead of the game. I never "got" 10, pretentious, self serving and oddly psychotic it left me cold while Lighting Bolt hit me right between the eyes!

Tracks: Getaway; Mind Your Manners; My Father's Son; Sirens; Lightning Bolt; Infallible; Pendulum; Swallowed Whole; Let The Records Play; Sleeping By Myself; Yellow Moon; Future Days.
Pearl Jam is:
Matt Cameron: Drums, Percussion
Eddie Vedder: Guitar, Vocals
Stone Gossard: Guitar
Mike McCready: Guitar
Jeff Ament: Bass