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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Pearl Jam “Backspacer”

(Editor’s note: This is our second review of the latest CD by Pearl Jam. You can read Stef’s review here)

While I consider their first three records among the best recordings I own, shortly after 1996’s “No Code” I no longer got too excited about a new release from Pearl Jam. They too often seemed to go out of their way to avoid good hooks in their music and cluttered their records with baffling filler. I caught wind of the “controversy” surrounding their latest (ninth) release, “Backspacer”, with enough critics and fans slamming the band for sounding too melodic (oh the horror!) that I had to check it out for myself.

For me, “Backspacer” is the record I’ve always wanted Pearl Jam to make. It is unabashed garage rock that by in large retains the trademark Pearl Jam sound (hard to avoid with Vedder‘s distinct vocals) yet finally dares to contain songs that you will remember and want to sing. It is a quick fix – just 37 minutes or so – but it comes at you like a bunch of fast jabs, with only a few quiet moments. “Backspacer” makes both the classic and punk rock influences of Pearl Jam more evident than ever. Vedder puts in plenty of umph as usual, but comes across as more sincere this time – you can almost feel him having a good time for once! The band also incorporates some piano, acoustic guitars, and other dynamics that make “Backspacer” an added pleasure to hear over and over again.

Categories
Reviews and Suggestions

Pearl Jam’s 9th Album ‘Back Spacer’. You know you want it.

(editor’s note: This is the first of two reviews of Pearl Jam’s latest by Rock and Roll Report writers. We are a firm believer in not one person having a monopoly of what RRR thinks of anything so we will follow up Stef’s review with one by Bill tomorrow)

Reviewing the latest Pearl Jam album ‘Back Spacer’ turned out to be more challenging than I had expected. Having been exposed and become a fan of Pearl Jam at such a vulnerable time in my life (early teens.. YIKES!) there is a sentimental value attached to them which has most likely clouded my judgment when it comes to their music. The difficult part then was being able to make an assessment of the album without factoring in my respect and admiration, and without comparison to their first several albums, which hold a very special place in my heart.

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Artists and Bands

RockAngel’s Weekly Radar – Daniel Wesley Band

daniel-welseyThis week, RockAngel’s Weekly Radar brings you Daniel Wesley Band, hailing from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. But if they never told you that, you would be adamant that they were from Hawaii or some SoCal beach city. Their sound is a mix of Pepper and Pearl Jam…and their songs fit equally into a summer beach day (“Johnny” from Outlaw) as they do into a smoky dive bar (“Pony” from Sing + Dance).

Their debut album Outlaw from 2006 definitely has a laid-back Jack Johnson kind of influence, but trust me, they bring a lot more energy to their live show than Jack ever has. Although…trying to pinpoint the feel of that album is difficult as at anytime they’ll throw you for a loop and kick it into a southern rock style as they do on “RockSteady”. This was a great start, but the album got little recognition and was barely a blip in the musical scene.