Pearl Jam: Backspacer

The term “return to form” is a favourite amongst music journalists, and I’m sure if I read back through my old reviews, I’ll discover that I’ve abused it a fair bit too. I loved Pearl Jam’s debut album so much that the anticipation of any new material in the early to mid 90’s was always high, but with each subsequent new release the anticipation diminished until their eighth studio album that I never actually got around to buying until at least 6 months after its release. “Oh, another new Pearl Jam album, better get it, after all I’m such a completist”.

But I’m glad I didn’t waste too much time acquiring a copy of “Backspacer”, named after that outdated typewriter key. Production reigns have been handed back to Brendan O’Brien and although their Grunge roots may seem quite distant at times from this poppier and punkier direction, it seems to work, so I’m loathed to call it a sell-out.

The overall tempo has picked up from those early moody, angst soaked, slow burning classics that eventually worked their way around to the blistering guitar solos. The Coldplay styled bashing keyboards on “Unthought Known” are overlaid with Eddie Vedder’s rich vocals. “Supersonic” as the title suggests is a face-paced number with a simple punk riff that could get the less self-conscious pogoing around the lounge. But my personal favourite is “Amongst The Waves” which admittedly is one of those moody angst soaked, slow burning classics that eventually works it way around to the blistering guitar solo.

I really like the artwork on the cover too. Take note Ian Brown.


grizaham said...

Doesn't get any better than Backspacer. Pearl Jam keeps impressing!!

Heading to Philly for 4 shows in 3 days!