Consequence of Sound's Top 50 Albums Of 2020 - Rated 10/50!
Pearl Jam release their much-anticipated eleventh studio album, Gigaton, on Monkeywrench Records/Republic Records. Produced by Josh Evans and Pearl Jam, Gigaton marks the band's first studio album since the Grammy award-winning Lightning Bolt, which was released on October 15, 2013.
"Making this record was a long journey," explains guitarist Mike McCready. "It was emotionally dark and confusing at times, but also an exciting and experimental road map to musical redemption. Collaborating with my bandmates on Gigaton ultimately gave me greater love, awareness and knowledge of the need for human connection in these times."
Gigaton's cover features Canadian photographer, filmmaker, and marine biologist Paul Nicklen's photo "Ice Waterfall". Taken in Svalbard, Norway, this image features the Nordaustlandet ice cap gushing high volumes of meltwater.
As the band's first LP since 2013's Lightning Bolt, there's an attention to sonic and emotional detail, a focus on musical light and shade, which reflects the album's lengthy gestation. The record is sequenced with the rockers upfront and slower, more meditative songs at the back, as if the band is exhaling. 'Come Then Goes' is a poignant acoustic eulogy for a fallen friend, and on 'River Cross' Vedder begs us all to 'share the light' over his own pump-organ line. Gigaton is a testament to how Pearl Jam's own deeply held dissatisfaction still burns brighter than ever.
"It may be 7 years gone since 2013's ear-searing Lightning Bolt - and almost 30 years after their genre-defining debut, 1991's alt-rock masterwork Ten - but Pearl Jam haven't lost a microstep with Gigaton. Here, all their Seattle-bred strengths are magnified anew. Eddie Vedder's signature vocal quaver remains steadfast, from the slowburn hiccupped holler that leads into Mike McCready's breakneck left-channel guitar solo on "Superblood Wolfmoon" to the gentle tone on display all throughout the dreamy, emotionally protective "Buckle Up." The funky/synthy groove of the mystical "Dance of the Clairvoyants" chronicles what would happen if Nile Rodgers produced a David Bowie / Roger Daltrey mashup, while drummer Matt Cameron's toms, bassist Jeff Ament's kalimba, and Vedder's own ominous pump organ add aural gravitas to the album-closing elegy, "River Cross." Elsewhere, the harmonically blended headbangers thrust of "Take the Long Way" highlights the guitar tandem of McCready and Stone Gossard. the red EKG pulse line tht extends eastward from the album cover's scrawled-out title aptly reflects the lifeblood inherent in Gigaton's grooves...yet another fine testament to how committed Pearl Jam are to the M.O. of crating idyllic sonic evenflow. " - Mike Mettler, The Absolute Sound, July/August 2020
Without sounding too negative, Lightning Bolt was a major letdown, a blemish in an otherwise rosy discography, chock-full of duds and maybe one gem (see: 'Sirens'). Gigaton is a complete 180, a rock 'n' roll renewal for the gang as they embrace sugary hooks again. Not hyperbole: There are earworms and melodies in nearly every song on Gigaton - did anyone think they had 'Superblood Wolfmoon' in 'em still? - and now the joke's on us: They can't tour … at least not for a little while longer.
- Double LP
- 3 Sides Of Music
- 1 Etched Side
- Gatefold jacket with embossing and cover image by Paul Nicklen
- 28-page booklet
- Pressed at QRP
- Who Ever Said
- Superblood Wolfmoon
- Dance Of The Clairvoyants
- Quick Escape
- Seven OClock
- Never Destination
- Take The Long Way
- Buckle Up
- Come Then Goes
- River Cross