Pearl Jam’s career has been quite impressive, from early nineties grunge breakthrough to over the decades becoming one of the most reliable big rock bands in the world. While their initial boom cooled, they’ve never faded away to any degree, never broken up & reunited, and are still selling out arenas. What’s more, they haven’t had a critical dip either, never turned into a legacy act whose new records you’ll grudgingly accept to get them back on tour (and new songs you’ll go to the bathroom during) – people are still excited about a new Pearl Jam record. Gigaton might not be a revelation, but you can still count on Pearl Jam.
Pearl Jam manage to do straightforward rock without it sounding just straightforward, like on opener “Who Ever Said” and the speedier “Never Destination”. Yet they know how to expand their sound, such as the powerful call to arms uplift “Seven O’clock”, or even the vintage organ on the revival-esque closer “River Cross”. Individual preferences will vary on the various excursions – acoustic wry lament “Comes Then Goes” is a bit too long at over six minutes, and the preceding “Buckle Up” meanders – but the groups stretches without being stretched.
Gigaton delivers in the way we’ve come to expect Pearl Jam to deliver, their very solid core with just enough added on. We practically take that for granted from this very established act, but pause for a minute to appreciate it.