Pearl Jam - Backspacer
Despite the fact that Pearl Jam have been releasing music pretty consistently for the best part of the last two decades, they're still generally referred to as a 90s rock band, partly because they've never quite matched the popularity and memorability of their recently reissued 1991 debut 'Ten' since, but also partly because they still sound like they're in them.
Despite guitarist Mike McCready's claims that Backspacer would have certain pop or new wave elements to it, this album does little to stand out from previous Pearl Jam material. This series of standard electric guitar tunes feel dated, and are only redeemed by clean and classy guitar solos, rock and roll piano and occasional intensifying harmonies.
Meanwhile frontman Eddie Vedder seems to have lost some of the power in his voice since Pearl Jam's heyday, particularly audible in slower acoustic numbers like sweetly arranged closer 'The End', and the pleasant if not earth-shattering 'Just Breathe.'
Apart from single, 'The Fixer', with its catchy singalong style chorus and capacity for advertising, there's no standout track here. A relatively uninspiring though not inadequate turn from the Seattle rockers, Backspacer is for hardcore fans only. Nice artwork though, hey?
Review by Jenny Mulligan | 09:00 | Friday 8th May 2009 | Album Review
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