Review of Dark Matter, by Pearl Jam | Still (and more than ever) alive

Mike McCready’s solo in Waiting for Stevie alone justifies the existence of Dark MatterPearl Jam’s twelfth album.

“Andrew wanted to create a cross between Vs. And Badmotorfinger », Confided to the magazine Spin Pearl Jam touring guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, a reference to two classics from the early 1990s, one from Eddie Vedder’s band and the other from Soundgarden.

And like Vs.. [1993]which opened with two punches (Go And Animal), Dark Matter leaves the pedal to the floor, with Scared of Fear And React, Respond, exhilarating, although predictable blasts that Mike McCready’s guitar fireworks will come to tear away from banality for good, generic rock remaining the bane of the Seattle band. A beast that she generally manages to tame on this 12e album.

No one was more ready to oversee the recording of a Pearl Jam record than Andrew Watt. A devoted fan of the band since childhood, the director once held a sign begging Eddie Vedder to let him come on stage to play the solo fromAlive. He was then 12 years old.

Two decades later, at 33, the old age stick of several geriatric rock icons applies to the survivors of grunge the method recently used with the Rolling Stones, Iggy Pop and Ozzy Osbourne, giants he knew bring them back to their fiery essence, to their fundamental identity.

After the laborious Gigaton (2020), quilt (un)sewn from two tons of demos provided by each of the five members of the group, there was no more salutary ambition than simply trying to extract a good Pearl Jam record from Pearl Jam, period, by letting its members jam in the same room.

Dark Matter thus contains at least three great songs, starting with the sparkling Wreckageas if Tom Petty had wanted to say a reply to Better ManAnd Upper Handthe most blatant attempt to rewrite Yellow Ledbetter (1991) since Yellow Ledbetter.

Like everything Andrew Watt touches, a paradox nevertheless ankyloses this album, which sounds like good old Pearl Jam, but on which the director, true to his bad habit, insisted on applying a sterile modern veneer ( and therefore condemned to age poorly). A decision which will allow veterans to insert themselves without swearing into the programming of a number of rock radio stations, but which stifles the roughness of a music whose strength is very evident in its rough edges.

Dark Matter could only be composed of mediocre songs (which is really not the case) that its existence would remain justified thanks to Waiting for Stevie. Constructed from a sketch created during the recording of Eddie Vedder’s most recent solo album, while he and Andrew Watt were killing time waiting for Stevie Wonder to come into the studio, this bravura piece could resemble Pearl Jam numbers if each of its members did not offer the best of themselves.

Drummer Matt Cameron, second star of the album, particularly shines and moves as if no one had informed him that he no longer plays in Soundgarden, while Mike McCready, the first star, does not. wait for the right moment to tear it all off.

Eddie Vedder promises that there is still love in this world, another way of saying that his group is still, and perhaps more than ever, alive.

Extract of Waiting For Stevie

Dark Matter


Dark Matter

Pearl Jam

Monkeywrench Records


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