In a blur of breakups, overdoses and suicides, grunge died in the late '90s. What followed was a wave of aural garbage in the form of bands fronted by Eddie Vedder wannabes who just couldn’t cut it — Creed, Nickelback, 3 Doors Down and (unfortunately) the list goes on and on. Yet somehow, long after their glory days and 19 years after their inception, Pearl Jam is still kicking, screaming and having a great time doing it — and Backspacer is proof.

This recent release is easily Pearl Jam’s best album since 1998’s Yield and sounds like a band rediscovering and redefining themselves. Vedder and the crew have finally come to terms with the death of the genre they helped create out of the grey skies of Seattle and repackaged themselves as an in-your-face, hard rock band. The opening four-track onslaught immediately sucks in any rock fan with a backhand to the face

The rest of the record might not be as strong as the opening, but with the entire album hardly hitting 36 minutes, the roller coaster ends with you begging for more. The band demonstrates a chemistry and versatility that only comes from a double decade of experience. These grizzled veterans of rock ‘n’ roll may have faltered for a few years, but Backspacer signals their call to arms. Pearl Jam are back in the ass-kicking business.


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