Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Media Starts to Weigh in on Lightning Bolt

Our experience with Lightning Bolt so far has been limited to say the least.  We've got one proper song, a couple of live performances, a soundcheck, a poor quality leak, and though we expect to hear Sirens this week, so far, we have Mike McCready strumming.

But a couple of music websites have had a chance to hear the album and craft some reviews, the first, by ClashMusic.com is positive and paints a brief, but exciting picture of the album.
The following ‘Mind Your Manners’ continues this all-guns-blazing approach. The guitar here is more barbed than the previous cut, with a real heavy metal feel. The adrenaline begins to surge. ‘My Father’s Son’ ensures it doesn’t dissipate, its primal punk-cum-garage momentum indicative of a band truly locked into their flow.

Infallible’ – another rougher-edged song, the fifth of its kind so far – is a hard-grunge affair which finds Vedder hitting every note with real precision, like a spear fisherman not missing a single strike. It’s a wonder how this man’s voice has sustained across the years – he sounds every bit as strong here as he did on ‘Ten’ and ‘Vs.’, what feels like a lifetime ago (and, for some fans, probably is).

And then, something completely different, as ‘Pendulum’ sounds unlike anything these men have recorded previously. It’s a bleak piece, reverbed guitar bringing a real sense of desolation to proceedings. A tambourine comes in, and an adagio bassline furthers the song’s atmospheric, experimental sound.
The second, by Drowned in Sound, is not nearly so complimentary, providing a more bleak, disinterested review.
Sirens: Right, we’ve reached cheesy ballad territory now. Any remaining hope that the album signals a return to a consistently harder rocking Pearl Jam sound is dwindling. The band think highly of this one apparently, but it’s bit too fluffy and middle-aged sounding for these ears.

Let The Records Play: Oh dear. This is one of those rare moments when Pearl Jam come off as almost pastiche-like in their attempts to make a song that’s pure “fun”. They have rarely pulled off the trick successfully since ‘Rats’ two decades ago. Unfortunately they definitely don’t get it right here.

Sleeping By Myself: A reprisal of one of the songs from Eddie’s solo Ukulele Songs record from a couple of years back. Apparently this was re-recorded and included on the album at the suggestion of producer Brendan O’Brien. He’s had better ideas.
What side will you fall on? We've found it hard to find negative things to say about Pearl Jam's music, so I doubt you'll be seeing words like "dwinding," "fluffy," or "pastiche-like," but only time will tell.