Album Reviews

Pearl Jam

Dark Matter

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‘Dark Matter’ represents the legendary Pearl Jam’s twelfth studio album in their storied career. Coming to prominence during the early 90’s grunge explosion, the band have long since proven that there is more to them than the scene that they emerged from.

2020’s ‘Gigaton’ continued a path of exploration and experimentation from a group who, despite realistically having nothing left to prove, still appear keen to showcase their creativity together.

The sonic landscape of ‘Dark Matter’ however, whilst still pushing the envelope a little further, also feels somewhat familiar and almost a retrospective of the bands career. Much of this will be down to producer Andrew Watt who whilst working with a genre-less cohort of artists, has had great success recently with old-school rockers like The Rolling Stones, Iggy Pop, Ozzy Osbourne and most importantly on Eddie Vedder’s 2022 solo album, ‘Earthlings’.

Pearl Jam – ‘Dark Matter’

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This experience and as Mike McCready terms it, Watt having “kicked their asses” seems to have worked wonders in harnessing the various strong suits of each member. Each aspect of their sound is on point throughout ‘Dark Matter’, with Vedder’s trademark crooning hypnotising as only he can.

The record really does feel like a love letter to Pearl Jam, which considering Watt’s proclaimed affection for the group probably isn’t far from the truth. Not that the band are going anywhere, but this is the sort of album which would be the perfect bookend for their career. In this form however, and with a freshness added to by Watt and guitarist Josh Klinghoffer’s involvement, you could actually see the band going on another golden run of releases.

Pre-release singles, ‘Dark Matter’, ‘Running’ and ‘Wreckage’ were probably the right choices to showcase what the album is all about, but as with most Pearl Jam releases this album deserves to be enjoyed as a collection. You can tell the love, affection and indeed attention that has been put into it, and that’s why every self-respecting Pearl Jam fan will need to take a moment of solitude to savour each moment of this record.

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