Album # 5 from Pearl Jam finds them trying to rediscover the brilliance and success of their mega selling debut ‘Ten’ which was a masterpiece in its own right selling shitloads of copies and remains their best collection to date. Yet with airplay and proper promotion (give us a tour – NOW!), ‘Yield’ could start rivalling ‘Ten’ in terms of commercial success. The punk rock of their last two offerings ‘No Code’ and ‘Vitalogy’ has been diluted and the arena traditional flag waving rock is back to the fore as Eddie Vedder & Co. attempt recreate the energy and musical excellence that they produced on their aforementioned debut and ‘Vs’. The opener ‘’Brain Of J’ is a fast and furious number similar in pace to ‘Go’ from album # 2 and is in the traditional PJ mode of few lyrics repeated over and again, while paving the way for what is to come.

Faithfull’ expands on its lyrical content and is an absolute stormier which could rival the likes of ‘Alive’, ‘Jeremy’ and ‘Daughter’ with its powerful and rousing chorus with Vedder wearing his heart on his sleeve. Next up is a mid tempo track ‘No Way’ which rolls along in the style of Soundgarden and reminiscent of the brilliant PJ/Soundgarden collaboration of 7 years ago which spawned Temple Of The Dog. Now that was a great album. ‘Given To Fly’, the first single to be lifted from the album is a star spangled classic, starting off gently before building into a crescendo which is another throwback to the early years with Vedders agitated growl backed up with an assertive melody, before giving way to ‘Wishlist’ a beautifully crafted song, reserved in its presentation.

Pilate’ reminds the listener of their punk rock past, while switching between laidback verses and a more urgent chorus. The grunge like ‘Do The Evolution’ is one of the albums poorer offerings, despite a Rolling Stone type guitar riff which kicks in midway through, but it is not enough of a saving grace to condemn the song to the ‘try again’ bucket. As in previous albums we also have a throwaway infill which is best not mentioned, prior to the superb rock of ‘MFC’ which glides along into ‘Low Light’, a carefully constructed number, similar in style to ‘Wishlist’, and has a lovely piano accompaniment, an instrument seldom used by the band, but is well suited to this track. Memories of ‘Jeremy’ are rekindled by the emergence of ‘In Hiding’ which is surely going to be a future single, with another excellent chorus where Vedder’s vocals border on the wailing side without going over the edge.

Push Me, Pull Me’ is a track which should have been discarded in the studio, yet niggles your mind as to who it reminds you of. Me, I’m not too sure, it could be obscure Bowie meets the likes of Nick Cave or someone of that ilk. The official closing track ‘All Those Yesterdays’ is a track that takes a while to get going, building in instrumentation and surging vocals before it fades away just as you were getting into it. If you let your CD run on a hidden track appears of Mexican/Spanish handclaps and style accompanied by a classically played electrically guitar, increasing in tempo before its abrupt end. All in all this album is a timely reminder that Pearl Jam are alive and well and could still have a deserved place in the rock arena if they continue to produce more songs of the calibre of ‘Faithfull’, ‘Given To Fly’, ‘Wishlist’ and ‘In Hiding’. The album is not claustrophobic and dark like ‘No Code’, instead being more free and breathtakingly open and refreshing as were ‘Vs’ and ‘Ten’, with some excellent guitar work and vocals and only a couple of bum tracks to blot the albums overall appeal.

Taken from Scotland Calling (Scottish Music Network)

Leave a Reply