Home Read Albums Of The Week: Pearl Jam | Dark Matter

Albums Of The Week: Pearl Jam | Dark Matter

The fire in their belly is still there — it just doesn't burn quite as intensely these days.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “In 2023, the members of Pearl Jam — vocalist Eddie Vedder, bassist Jeff Ament, rhythm guitarist Stone Gossard, lead guitarist Mike McCready and drummer Matt Cameron — ventured to Rick Rubin’s Shangri-La Studios in Malibu, where they simply plugged in and played with producer-of-the-moment Andrew Watt (Ozzy Osbourne, Iggy Pop, Rolling Stones) at the helm.

The musicians faced one another in the same space and communicated sonically at the highest level. Writing and recording in a burst of inspiration, their 12th studio album Dark Matter was born in just three weeks.

As a result of the circumstances behind its creation, Dark Matter channels the shared spirit of a group of lifelong creative confidants and brothers in one room playing as if their very lives depended on it. All of the blood, sweat, tears, and energy of a storied career felt renewed and poured into this one body of work.

Vedder says, “We’re still looking for ways to communicate. We’re at this time in our lives when you could do it or you could not do it, but we still care about putting something out there that is meaningful and we hopefully think is our best work. No hyperbole, I think this is our best work.”

Photo by Danny Clinch.

Ament adds, “What Ed said about getting us in a room at this point, we felt like we were about to make a really important record. A lot of that had to do with the atmosphere Andrew set up. He has encyclopedic knowledge of our history, not only as a band and how we wrote songs, but as players. He could pinpoint things we did on old songs to the point where I was like, ‘What the fuck is he talking about?’ His excitement was contagious. He’s a force. I just want to say thanks for keeping us on track. I couldn’t be prouder of us as a band. I feel so grateful for the fans, but mostly for my brothers and these people I’ve made music with.”

The Dark Matter album packaging features light painting art by Alexandr Gnezdilov. Light painting is an artistic form of photography where images are created by adjusting a camera’s exposure for an extended period and using a light source, such as a flashlight, to “paint” in the dark. The album cover art was crafted using a large self-made kaleidoscope. Each letter visible on the cover was individually captured and handwritten in midair with a specially designed flashlight to create the pearlescent effect.

Pearl Jam are an alternative rock band formed in Seattle in 1990. Nearly 35 years of live performances, a dozen studio albums and hundreds of official concert bootleg releases later, they continue to be critically acclaimed and commercially successful. They have sold over 85 million albums worldwide and were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 2017. Since the earliest days, Pearl Jam have used their platform to elevate people and causes that often go unnoticed or underserved. Much of the band’s philanthropic work is accomplished through its Vitalogy Foundation. Over their career, the band have a long history of standing up for what they believe and putting resources behind those beliefs. As a result, Pearl Jam continue to have a lasting impact on generations of music lovers.”