Pearl Jam "Lightning Bolt" Album Review — 5 out of 5 stars
Tue, 15 Oct 2013 08:23:58
"I got my own way to believe," howls Eddie Vedder on "Getaway" the cathartic and catchy opener of Pearl Jam's Lightning Bolt.
As an entity, the Seattle legends have always possessed their "own way to believe", and that's what has seen them through ten albums and over two decades as America's greatest rock band. It's also why their music continues to be raw, raucous, and relevant. Make no mistake about it, Lightning Bolt is Pearl Jam at their most pure and powerful.
"Getaway" immediately sets off Lightning Bolt with a spark. Driven by Jeff Ament's immortal bass groove and signature dual riffing of Stone Gossard and Mike McCready, it channels the band's most energetic fare, while imbuing a sense of wisdom and wonder that could only be the product of such a rich career. Matt Cameron holds down a rapturous beat as Vedder screams, "Now make your getaway".
Speeding ahead, "Mind Your Manners" becomes one of Pearl Jam's heaviest songs ever before crashing right into a melodic bridge. Magically, "My Father's Son" nods to the unbridled youth of Ten, while "Sirens" might just be one of the band's most majestic ballads ever. McCready's playing remains as lyrical as Vedder's poetic delivery. "Swallowed Whole" feels as if it were meant to be played over the ultimate surf trip as Gossard's playing simply enchants. Meanwhile, "Pendulum" dips into darkness before Vedder admits, "I'm in the fire". For as punk-y as Lightning Bolt can get, there are moments such as the finale "Future Days", which is cinematic in its vivid picture of love—without ever falling into being a "love song".
Then again, Pearl Jam always do things on their own terms. That's why Lightning Bolt feels so fresh and fiery. It's also a reason why it's another milestone for the group and one of the year's best records. It's just their way though…
Do you dig Lightning Bolt?