Pearl Jam
Gigaton


3.0
good

Review

by Raul Stanciu STAFF
March 27th, 2020 | 127 replies


Release Date: 2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Like a heavy cloud hanging over your head...

Pearl Jam have mostly kept to themselves throughout their career, tending to their sonic needs and comfort rather than passing trends or nostalgia factors. This is a band where everyone writes songs and thus, often rammed their heads into one another. This occurred especially (or more publicly) during the first decade of activity. Therefore, you could observe when they were on the same page or not. Luckily, all members share similar classic rock influences and that tied together most of their experiments. Celebrating the 30th anniversary this year, the quintet channeled their energy into Gigaton, the first record in 7 years. No time was wasted recapturing former glories, as this collection of tunes feels more of an attempt to successfully regroup. Its sound is more mature and settled overall than before, whereas everyone seems focused to demonstrate to himself he can still come up with good music.

A thick atmosphere characterizes Gigaton best; it’s like a heavy cloud hangs over it from start to finish. In some ways it reminisces Riot Act, due to the mix of political, environmental and reflective subjects spread on moody ideas. Still, that album found a tension release through short bursts of aggressive songs. Sadly, here there is little to no relief. Eddie Vedder practices restraint, but I’m afraid that’s not always the answer. His discontent with multiple things surrounding is as tangible as ever, however, the music rarely allows him to shake it off. Nevertheless, ‘Take the Long Way’ and ‘Never Destination’ come closest, as Matt Cameron plays some straightforward beats over which crunchy guitars display some muscle. Moreover, ‘Superblood Fullmoon’ and ‘Who Ever Said’ feature catchier grooves overall, leaning towards 2009’s Backspacer, where the front man employs some raucous vocals too. The material is not stellar, yet in this context, it provides a solid dose of much-needed energy. Meanwhile, ‘Quick Escape’ boasts a cockier instrumental, displaying some chunky riffs and a prominent bass line. The band feels energized here, diversifying the structure with some piano leads, a powerful guitar solo, plus a couple of sampled verses during the bridge. Since they let the song unfold and breathe, the results are also satisfying.

From here, Gigaton settles into a brooding, mid-tempo-at-best pace. The second half is cluttered with ballads that may provide depth, but end up weighing heavy on the listener. There’s a nice country touch on ‘Comes and Goes’, yet its 6 minutes length is not justified. You’ve heard everything halfway into it, ultimately losing its potential impact. ‘Retrograde’ and ‘Alright’ are decent tunes, unfortunately, they lack truly memorable parts. Album closer, ‘River Cross’ breaks the patterns by using a keyboard progression and poignant bass notes as its foundation. A pastoral synthesizer line joins Vedder during the chorus, complete with tom-heavy drumming and welcomed backing vocals. This is an epic, pleasant conclusion to the journey, although I wouldn’t say it breaks new grounds for the band. It offers diversity, so it stands out. The only track in this lot that benefits from a gradual progression is ‘Seven O’Clock’. As the main rhythm is augmented by violins and smooth organ chords, the guitars discreetly play along. The chorus is beautiful and multiple layers are added for a grandiose finale. The lyrics sharply contrast the melody though and I can’t help but think they should’ve released an angry punk record instead.

Ultimately, Gigaton is an album that probably the band needed more than the fans. It’s a nice souvenir for those who have followed them over the years and rejoice unconditionally at any record Pearl Jam presents us. The compositions are solid, every member brings something to the table and Eddie sings just as passionately as ever. Despite all these, there are only a handful of songs that spark actual emotion or groove at least, whereas the others fail to deliver memorable hooks. I can’t say I had fun listening to it either and its length is on the verge of uninviting in this case.



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user ratings (218)
3.1
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 27th 2020


6199 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I don't feel this album as others do apparently. The punchier tracks are nice, as well as 'Seven O'Clock'. They can do better and I hope they'll come up with a better LP sooner than later.



Stream the album here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b600AygA-5A&list=OLAK5uy_nFVBfM5ViENs6t3N-dwzJkNTJpLLy4S_E

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
March 27th 2020


32053 Comments


I checked two singles.

One I liked it, the other one not so much.

So I'm gonna give it try.

zakalwe
March 27th 2020


39164 Comments


I’m sussing this one out, shuffling towards it prodding it with a stick before taking a few steps back. Walk up close to it it, crouch down, sniff the air around it. Further stick prodding.
I feel a bit uneasy, do I bury it or take it home and nurse it.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 27th 2020


6199 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's a bit hit and miss for me

tectactoe
March 27th 2020


7445 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

'I feel a bit uneasy, do I bury it or take it home and nurse it.'



lmfao

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
March 27th 2020


16657 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

better than the last one for sure

Asura14
March 27th 2020


532 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Really not feeling this one, so far seems like a step down from Lightning Bolt.



Will give it a few more listens tho

zakalwe
March 27th 2020


39164 Comments


foxxxy

DDDeftoneDDD
March 27th 2020


22427 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

whaaat? still in the game? Still wearing flannel?

bigguytoo9
March 27th 2020


1417 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Not a bad record, some decent songs on here. Dance Of The Clairvoyant isnt a very good track AT ALL.

DoofDoof
March 27th 2020


15255 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Positives?



At least the album art isn't a sliced avocado

OmairSh
March 27th 2020


17615 Comments


Dance of the Clairvoyants is growing on me

"At least the album art isn's a sliced avocado"

Seriously, it boggles my mind how bands okay some of this shit album art

DDDeftoneDDD
March 27th 2020


22427 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

"At least the album art isn's a sliced avocado"

Now that I think of it, this band always been too healthy for me...

AxeToFall93
March 27th 2020


316 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

It's a step forward after the last two crap records. Still not that great. Some great tunes like "Dance Of The Clairvoyant" oder "Seven O'Clock", but also a lot of generic boring tracks.

DDDeftoneDDD
March 27th 2020


22427 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

they ll never pick up since they started to ride one

onionbubs
March 27th 2020


21268 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this doesnt seem like itll have a lot of staying power but rn i think i like this more than everything binaural onward (not really a high bar admittedly)

Tdunn99
March 27th 2020


33 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I really really wanted to like this one. And after hearing dance of the clairvoyants i thought that they were on to something, yet it seems that they are kind of stuck in the same boat for the last couple decades. With time Binaural, and Riot Act have grown, but this album has very little to offer that is new. The chord progressions on most tracks are bland and although there are some nice solos it seems like an afterthought and doesn`t do much. I hope this grows, there a few decent tracks, but overall, not impressed.

DDDeftoneDDD
March 27th 2020


22427 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

"I really really wanted to like this one." why tho?...its better not to and get eventually surprised

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 27th 2020


6199 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Agreed. I find it peculiar how the record passed me by. There are few catchy tracks overall. I'd like them to release another Backspacer-like album (35 minutes long rock record)

Source
March 27th 2020


19917 Comments


their first non trash album cover?



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