Pearl Jam – Gigaton (Monkeywrench Records/Republic Records)
Is Mike McCready some kind of clairvoyant?
Earlier this year Pearl Jam’s guitarist revealed the recording of Gigaton had made him acutely aware ‘of the need for human connection in these times’.
That need has never been greater.
And with every fresh spin Gigaton sounds like a record of our time.
From Friday fans will be lapping up every last minute.
But the majority will be doing so in isolation…and in trepidation.
As a result, Pearl Jam’s 11th studio album will resonate more deeply than even McCready could have imagined.
The garage rock growl of Who Ever Said is no precursor for the genre-defying musical mash-up that follows.
Dance Of The Clairvoyants leans on 80s pop and funk.
Quick Escape builds on the foundation of a booming bassline to explode the senses.
And Take The Long Way is a heavy hitter that frees Eddie Vedder to let rip.
Sonically, the various twists and turns are terrifically liberating.
Lyrically there’s just too much to compute after two, three or even four listens.
But one couplet stands out above all others.
And it’s a magnificently cutting criticism of a certain Donald Trump.
‘Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, they forges the North and West/Then there’s Sitting Bullshit as our own sitting president’ voices Vedder on Seven O’Clock.
Sheer brilliance from a band that specialises in painful burns.
The folky/Americana feel of Comes Then Goes and set closer River Cross’s doleful pump organ reinforce Pearl Jam’s reputation as master innovators.
Listen carefully and the latter could belong on a Fish-era Marillion record.
Pearl Jam do prog? Perhaps.
It might be a stretch to suggest Gigaton is some kind of predictor for a world in chaos.
But McCready knew something. He just didn’t know what.
Main image by Danny Clinch