Pearl Jam were always that band that your dad got jumped on for liking. But in his words, the t-shirt looked better with blood on. Lightning Bolt is their tenth album, released twenty-three years after they first formed – and show no signs of faltering.
The album kicks off with a classier-than-punk first track ‘Getaway’ that just makes you wish you had waist length dreads to head bang with. Lead singer Eddie Vedder thunders back on to the music scene with effortless Jim Morrison like vocals, and of course, no Pearl Jam song would be quite complete without the Hendrix-esque screeching guitars and copious amounts of heavy drums.
This distinctive talent continues into the second track ‘Mind Your Manners’ which is simply the epitome of classic rock. With vocals like Motörhead’s ‘Ace of Spades,’ Vetter’s gruff, throaty voice is easily a match for hard rock legends like The Ramones or Led Zeppelin. Next track, ‘My Father’s Son’ also features their distinctive guitar and stubbornly persevering drums, with its roots firmly planted into the American rock and roll we found on old time favourites like ‘Spin the Black Circle’ and ‘Alive’.
Interestingly, Pearl Jam show a different side to the band with their single ‘Sirens’. Proving slower and more intricate, it’s perhaps the best rendition of a tough man’s love song and is definitely the song to thrust your lighter up into the sky to, as you sway along with the hairiest bunch of individuals you’ve possibly ever seen. This softer, sensitive side of Vedder’s soul is also adopted on the album’s concluding song ‘Future Days,’ which features gentle piano and the beautiful application of his voice.
To sum it up quite simply, Pearl Jam’s latest release is the best kind of nostalgia; one that reinvents the reputation and definition of classic rock. Lightning Bolt means it is finally okay to ask your dad just which Pearl Jam t-shirt exactly was it he bought before you were born (and if he still has it).