Had the opportunity to hear 5 tracks now off of Pearl Jam's upcoming self titled album (Due on May 2nd) I'd thought i'd give a sort of "blow for blow" account of what i've heard so far:
Severed Hand - Starts off a little trippy before going in an almost U2-ish direction with sweeping guitars and all that. It settles into a strumming rock rythm that's almost funky. McCready and Gossard complement each other very well in this one, and Vedder sings it a little restrained - Guitar wise it sounds very much like older PJ with less "raunch" in the guitar tone. I'd compare it to Vs. era material. It's a great uptempo rocker.
Comatose - Heavy! Akin to Blood or Spin the Black Circle. Basically 2:30 of raw punk-style aggression with that trademarked Pearl Jam piss n vinegar. Ed hasn't screamed like this since Do The Evolution. Again, more great lead guitar work - i love how much soloing the guys are doing these days.
Life Wasted - This one is awesome! Ed's voice is slightly screaming, great driving start stop riff. Comparable to some of the heavier stuff on Binaural (It reminds me a lot of Grievance), only tighter. Love the sound of Ed's voice on this one. If there's one tune from the new one so far that really hearkens to Pearl Jam's arena rock roots, this is it.
Parachutes - Holey shit! This is definitely a departure. This one almost echoes some of The Beatles stuff. It's pretty low key stuff, bass, accoustic, some mellow drumming. It's got a different sound for sure, closest of their back catalog i could compare it to would be All Those Yesterdays, though even then it's not quite accurate. It isn't entirely "lounge lizard" per se, but maybe Lounge by way of Pearl Jam. Great song!
Worldwide Suicide - The Single. For those who haven't heard it, i'd best describe it as a solid mix of aggressive punk and arena rock. It doesn't quite hook you instantly, it doesn't have that "sing along" charm of some of PJ's other uptempo rockers, but it's a great tune. A little different from what you might typically hear from the band. Closest relative would probably be Binaural era stuff, but that doesn't quite nail it. Awesome chorus, excellent guitar work. A little too blatant in it's anti-Establishment message, but Eddie generally isn't overly subtle anyway. Also great song.
I have to say, first time i heard "Worldwide Suicide", i dug the tune, but at the same time there was something nagging at me. Sure i was happy to be seeing a new Pearl Jam album, but no where near as excited as i should be (these guys have been labelled my faveorite band for the past while after all - or sharing duties with the Tea Party at any rate). Any sort of aprehension i've felt is gone now. These songs are fantastic! If the rest of the album lives up to these five, i'd have no trouble saying that this next one could quite possibly be Pearl Jam's best record to date! I'm gonna try and avoid anymore album spoilers for myself until May 2nd! I am now officially excited!