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Pearl Jam - Dark Matter (Album Review)

Thursday, 25 April 2024 Written by Rishi Shah

Photo: Danny Clinch

Twelve albums down the line, it’s kind of an honour to have Seattle grunge icons Pearl Jam still cooking as part of the current musical landscape. There are arenas and stadiums still to be filled, with Eddie Vedder’s signature bellow finding a new generation of fans to back up the die-hards, who will be thrilled by the back-to-basics ballast of ‘Dark Matter’.

Pearl Jam remain a killer live band but, in terms of new music, there’s been precious little to rave about since their 2009 LP ‘Backspacer’. The experimental ‘Gigaton’ fell flat back in 2020, offering a disappointing use of their talent and energy that called to mind a modern-day equivalent of Chris Cornell’s 2009 flop ‘Scream’. Here, though, they prove there’s plenty of gas left in the tank.

The title track serves as a bombastic, spirited introduction, teased by a neat Matt Cameron drum fill. Vedder’s vocal delivery is scintillating and each member seizes their moment in the spotlight, be it bassist Jeff Ament’s post-chorus twang or another soaring Mike McCready solo.

Wreckage and Something Special make for relaxing, emotive listens, with the former building into a classic Pearl Jam ballad. The back and forth of “Holding out, holding on” that seamlessly integrates into one final chorus is begging to be drawn out in a live setting, providing a singalong that’s not a million miles away from their 1994 hit Corduroy.

While they may be approaching their 60s, there are still hints of early Pearl Jam dynamism too. React, Respond balances more measured moments and an air of chaos, while Running has hardly any breathing space, its driving rhythm bulldozing through its two minutes at a frenetic pace. ‘Dark Matter’ covers all the bases.

Pearl Jam Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Sat June 22 2024 - DUBLIN Marlay Park
Tue June 25 2024 - MANCHESTER Co-op Live
Sat June 29 2024 - LONDON Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Compare & Buy Pearl Jam Tickets at Stereoboard.com.


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