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Pearl Jam: Gigaton review – grunge gurus revel in the end times

(Republic Records)
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.

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