Fans wanting soaring choruses won’t be disappointed. But the fixation on an uneasy future gives the veteran band currency
It is 29 years since the release of Pearl Jam’s 16m-selling debut album Ten. On one level: of course it is. Is there anything more piquantly redolent of the distant moment when grunge went from being a witty melding of US punk, old-fashioned British indie and an unabashed love of 1970s hard rock to a vast, mainstream concern than the videos for its singles Jeremy and Alive? These were expensively shot depictions of, respectively, high-school alienation – replete with hand-scrawled words such as “disturb”, “numb” and “problem” flashing across the screen – and Pearl Jam in their early live pomp, a riot of backwards caps, pained expressions and plaid.