Pearl Jam, one of the original constituents of the Seattle Sound, has released the single Sirens as an appetiser for Lightening Bolt, their first studio album in four years.
The flannelette and flowing hair have been replaced in recent times by a neater look, and to an extent this change is reflected in Sirens – it doesn’t have the reckless energy or the grit that were once staples of Pearl Jam’s sound. But even though we’re presented with a tune that is in some regards a bit more refined, it isn’t lacking in largeness, and there’s no keeping the wilderness from Eddie Vedder’s voice.
It is though, in a sense, the ‘largeness’ of the song that I take issue with. The verses begin in a relatively restrained manner, and have an appealing kind of solemnity to them. There are then a few stages of growth, with some interesting variations in colour, Pearl Jam the whole time enticing listeners with the musical promise of a big chorus. But when delivered, the chorus is unfortunately rather generic and fails to create the level of feeling that the preceding sections do.
Sirens has the moves when it comes to seducing us, but after the song’s climaxes, we are left asking: ‘Is that it?’ As such I would have preferred to hear Pearl Jam take an alternative approach to the power-ballad with this track – in attempting to add it to their list of songs for live audiences to lose their voices to, the band has taken the focus off some great ideas that will not now get the kind of exploration and attention that they deserve.
::: Renowned For Sound Music Reviews ::: Ben is a 21-year-old student whose taste in music consists of tunes that make him see things. Music for him is a very visual experience; a song has succeeded when it transports the listener somewhere. This is a quality Ben hopes to articulate in writing music reviews for RenownedForSound.com.
Ben capped off his school days at a Sydney high school catering specifically for the musically inclined, but now must balance his musical cravings with university study. To satisfy these cravings, Ben has played guitar in a few groups of differing styles but is often most contented just tinkering with the blues.