Pearl Jam Binaural

Pearl Jam seemed to have lost the rock and roll plot several years ago, with underwhelming albums like Yield and No Code. Many of the songs were bereft of melody and, quite frankly, excitement of any kind. Opening with the blistering "Breakerfall," the band hold up the mighty mast of positive triumph instead of the tedious meandering of self-importance. Jeff Ament's "God's Dice" is the album's finest piece of rock, probably the best since Mirror Ball's " I Got Id," with Neil Young. The first single, "Light Years," is a reflective song that employs that difficult to describe petit anthemic quality that reaffirms life. "Thin Air" is a gentle evocation of love for a woman reminiscent of simpler times, and is a simple but killer tune that demonstrates the difference between writing inspired, yet spartan songs, as opposed to primitive and boring songs. While Pearl Jam are not rewriting music on their latest, they have produced a work that evokes a large array of emotions with some good, and some great, songs. (Sony)