Dark Matter

Pearl Jam

Monkeywrench/Republic, 2024


REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler


It’s been four years since Covid and in the early timeframe, Pearl Jam released Gigaton, one of their most underrated releases. It was lost in the haze and panic of the lockdown and after lead singer Eddie Vedder worked on an excellent solo album with Andrew Watt and friends, the band united with Watt—PJ mega fan and producer of all genres—and returned with one of their strongest albums in years.

Opening with “Scared Of Fear,” the band gets off to a quick start and sounds like Pearl Jam of old. While my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Gigaton was a bit slower like some previous discs, Dark Matter gets the slower songs out of the way first like “Wreckage,” which is passable, but I’m at that stage where I don’t want slow Pearl Jam anymore. The album’s title track and the epic “Running” really pick up the pace and make you realize this band really hasn’t lost a step in the studio. The latter is one of the most blazing songs the band have released in years and damn if it doesn’t take your breath away. These are two of the best tracks on the album.

On the second half of the disc, the album really picks up steam as “Waiting For Stevie” starts things off and that allows for killer after killer all the way to the end of the disc. With assistance from Watt and former Chili Pepper Josh Klinghoffer, the musicianship is kicked into top gear and everything just sounds so crisp and alive. Gone are the days of minute joke songs and weird ass interludes like “Bugs”; this band is ready to show up these younger ‘rock’ bands and prove that the ’90s gave us some of the longest-lasting, still thriving rock of all time.

“Something Special” is one of the best ballads the band have put together recently and is one of those tracks that diehard fans will go back to over and over again. But let us not forget the closing track; oh no sir not at all. “Setting Sun,” written by Vedder to his two daughters is a classic Jam song if there ever was one. Not heavy at all but lyrically powerful and another reminder of how great a lyricist Vedder has always been.

Pearl Jam have always been solid and reliable and this album just shows how strong and sturdy they’ve always been, with no signs of showing any wear.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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