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.The second, by Drowned in Sound, is not nearly so complimentary, providing a more bleak, disinterested review.
‘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.
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.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.
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.