Pearl Jam, Yield


It would have been a tragicomic coda to the sad saga of ’90s guitar rock had Pearl Jam, the fading grunge movement’s flagship band, decided to dabble in electronica or add dance beats to “Yield,” the follow-up to 1996’s “No Code.” Thankfully, they’ve resisted such loony impulses, turning in an intermittently affecting album that veers between fiery garage rock and rootsy, acoustic-based ruminations, and coming up with their most cohesive disc since 1991’s “Ten.” “Yield”‘s overall tone is markedly less pretentious than that of past PJ salvos. On the gleeful hip-shaker “Do the Evolution,” Vedder howls throwaway lyrics while the guitars gnash and grind with primitive abandon. Elsewhere, the band proves it can still come up with its trademark anthems — “Faithful” and “MFC” seem destined for heavy rotation on rock radio. Then there’s “Given to Fly,” basically a rewrite of Led Zeppelin’s “Going to California,” which may be of special interest to Jimmy Page’s attorneys, particularly since it’s the first single from the album. Still, such apparent pilferage seems apt: Pearl Jam finally appears to have decided it’s okay to be a Zep-loving classic rock band, and later for all that suffering artist stuff. Let’s face it: Once you hit 30, those hair shirts start to really itch, man.

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