Pearl Jam have given us a gentle (and pleasant) surprise by announcing the release of their new album for 15 October – previous indications had been for a spring 2014 release, although on reflection the recently announced November US tour dates may have been a clue. It will be their tenth studio album, the eighth produced by ever-reliable Brendan O’Brien.
It’s quite a striking piece of cover art, and something of a departure from previous covers. I’m not exactly sure what to make of it. There seems to be religious symbolism aplenty, both here and for ‘Mind Your Manners’ below. Each album usually has an overarching theme, so once the album’s out it’ll be a bit clearer where the band’s heads are at (especially Ed’s, as main lyricist).
In a recent interview, Mike McCready said the album has been inspired by Pink Floyd and punk rock; first single and fresh burst of energy ‘Mind Your Manners’ owes more to the Dead Boys than Waters et al. On first listen, with its urgent opening riff, there’s an element of ‘Spin the Black Circle’ given a Backspacer makeover. Blistering solo from McCready.
This Friday, 19 July, Pearl Jam are playing iconic Wrigley Field, home of Vedder’s beloved (and endearingly hapless) Chicago Cubs. Here’s a track he wrote in their honour a few years back. (For those of you who aren’t baseball fans, the Cubs have never won the World Series.)