Album review: Pearl Jam, Lightning Bolt (Monkeywrench/Virgin EMI)


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The Independent Culture

Though not quite as impressive as 2009's Backspacer, this follow-up offers a similarly broad range of styles, exemplified by the difference between its two singles: the urgent thrash of "Mind Your Manners" and the lilting ballad "Sirens". In between, things lean towards the former, through the declamatory riffing and tempestuous imagery of "Getaway", the anthemic pessimism of "Infallible", and the sinuous groove of "My Father's Son". Less successful, despite playing to the muscular yearning in Eddie Vedder's voice, are the mawkish "Future Days" and the REM-esque "Swallowed Whole".

Download: Mind Your Manners; Sirens; Lightning Bolt; Infallible