“I’ve lost my patience, my patience tried”
As a major Pearl Jam fan, the release of a new album is something of an event. As one of the only surviving bands from the early 90’s Seattle music scene, they’ve had a long time to stretch their music into various areas, from furious alternative rock to quieter and more poignant moments. After they realised their inner Who on BackSpacer I was interested to see where the band would go next, and if lead single ‘Mind Your Manners’ is any indication it is a very dark place indeed.
Backspacer was a record about coming to terms with age and mortality, and so in ‘Mind Your Manners’ it is exciting to see the band leaning back towards their more socially-outraged side, last seen on 2006’s Pearl Jam. We are firmly back in the territory of Vs. where the band was at it’s most aggressive, as Matt Cameron’s relentless drums and Mike McCready’s sinister guitar line cuts through the mix on ‘Mind Your Manners’. Meanwhile, Eddie Vedder’s anxious lyrics, loaded with feelings of futility and images of governmental hypocrisy, are delivered in Vedder’s characteristic roar. ‘Mind Your Manners’ is a rabid dog on a weakening leash and sounds like the twin of ‘Spin The Black Circle’, nearly twenty years delayed. The sheer aggressive energy threatens to derail the song at any moment, but Pearl Jam have honed their craft and their rage long enough to keep things on track.
As with the lead single from Backspacer, ‘The Fixer’, I was initially unimpressed by ‘Mind Your Manners’. However, Pearl Jam are a band whose music, though attention grabbing, does not reveal itself all at once. There are always subtle tricks which you miss first time around, even on their most simple songs like ‘Lukin’, and it is only after repeated listens that ‘Mind Your Manners’ reaches its full potential. And so if ‘Mind Your Manners’ is any indication, then Lightning Bolt looks set to be a dark and riffy ride.
‘Mind Your Manners’ is available to download now. Lightning Bolt will be released 15th October 2003 through Monkeywrench Record