For Fans Of
Pearl Jam – old reliable or perhaps the steady veterans. The band reached the status long ago where reputation alone will always ensure interest as each new album drops. However, it is still important to judge on merits that disregard past feats and look at an album purely in isolation and on what’s presented.
‘Lightning Bolt’ begins with ‘Getaway’, which, apart from being a touch too similar to Matchbox Twenty, is clear and catchy rock. Instrumentally it is fairly bare and simple, apart from perhaps the ascending and descending, melodic bass present in parts. The song, as with most of this album, does not represent a shift in Pearl Jam’s style with time by any means, and would fit just fine among the band’s older releases. That is where the maintained appeal for Pearl Jam fans lies.
There are other songs which feature Pearl Jam’s long-established simple rock sound, such as ‘Swallowed Whole’. Just as in ‘Getaway’, the band keep the track fairly basic, with even the guitar solo feeling rather relaxed despite some obvious complexities within it.
‘Mind Your Manners’ initially sounds as if it is a toned back version of a System of a Down song. There are short bursts of distorted and palm-muted guitar, as well as some ride cymbal-heavy drums. This, however, quickly moves to more of a rock ‘n’ roll sound which is a lot more familiar. The initial exploration returns in small doses throughout the song, and is furthered by an intense but brief guitar solo.
The acoustic guitar comes out for ‘Sirens’, as well as ‘Sleeping By Myself’. In ‘Sirens’ it is joined by splashing cymbals that provide embellishments while a tom-driven rhythm is established. As the song moves along, more of a band is added to the mix and with this country slides linger beneath the song’s slow-paced front.
‘Pendulum’ is the furthest Pearl Jam stray from their established style, experimenting with both ambience and rhythm. There is not really any clear structure, or even much variance, to the track though. It is best described as a rather flat and constant exploration.
‘Lightning Bolt’ sees Pearl Jam, yet again, stick to their proverbial guns. This allows for them to produce an album which fans should enjoy even if it is almost a mere amalgamation of the band’s past endeavours.
2. Mind Your Manners
3. My Father’s Son
5. Lightning Bolt
8. Swallowed Whole
9. Let the Records Play
10. Sleeping by Myself
11. Yellow Moon
12. Future Days