AOM Logo July 2000


Pearl Jam

Epic EK 663665

Christopher Tocher

Record Cover

Pearl Jam is alive and well with the release of their sixth studio album Binaural. It is a Grade A collection which tastes such musical flavors as 1970's progressive rock to traditional American folk music, yet still remaining within the tight confines of the band's original sound. This sound, uniquely its own, invades Binaural, creating a monster effort conceived by a band with a seemingly perpetual amount of raw energy.

Pearl Jam is a hybrid of a rock band: they defined the 90s in terms of revolutionizing the direction of new music and by speaking directly to the youth of the time. They broke down stagnant musical barriers that allowed a plethora of copycat acts to seep in and to carve their own niche. Over this last decade, Eddie and the boys have grown musically, and this is shown most energetically in Binaural. The imperious magic of it lies not in the inventiveness or ingenuity of the instrumentals, but rather in the band's ability to sustain an overall idea. They continue to innovate rather than imitate. And cuts such as Light Years and Thin Air lend credence that one would be hard-pressed to find a more communicative artist than Eddie Vedder. Superb stuff!

Recorded in Seattle, Binaural is a routine recording, yet highlights some subtle (for this band!) instrumentation. As such, viola, cello and harmonium add to the overall effect.

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