Sunday, November 20, 2011

Album Review: Pearl Jam – Yield

By 1998, Pearl Jam had become more or less the last band standing of the so-called grunge bands. Their sound was always a more classic rock sound and this informs Yield.
It comes roaring out of the traps with Brain of J, which has one of those classic chord changes for the chorus at which this band excels. This track is not really reflective of the rest of the album which settles into a more mid-tempo groove with Faithfull (sic) and No Way, the latter of which has a sort of late period Led Zeppelin feel to it.

This is reinforced by first single Given to Fly, which uses the tune and tempo of Zep’s Going to California before rocking it up a little. Wishlist is a very simple mid-tempo melody, with an anthemic chorus and a soaring, clean guitar solo midway through, while Pilate is more akin to REM’s classic Perfect Circle.
There is some experimentation here which doesn’t really work with track 8, an untitled garbled mess of percussion and chanting which thankfully only lasts a minute, and later Push Me, Pull Me is a spoken word track which again, doesn’t really work.
It works better when they play it straight. MFC zips along nicely, and Low Light has a pleasing acoustic feel to it. The anthemic In Hiding plays it a little too straight, and All Those Yesterdays sees them aim for a Beatles-type song, complete with brass etc. Less said about the hidden track, Russian dance (hummus?) the better.
It’s uneven but an enjoyable mixed bag.