According to some, the grunge movement was a combination of punk and classic rock. Within that definition, Pearl Jam have always leaned toward the classic rock end of the spectrum, an aspect of their identity that they've wholeheartedly embraced on their ninth studio album. Hell, they even sound optimistic and cheerful this time around, which lends an unexpected party vibe to the proceedings.
There's a casual feel to this recording that generally works in its favour. Nothing sounds too laboured, and you get the feeling that they banged out the tunes quickly in an attempt to capture some live urgency. On the downside, the unpretentious approach often borders on unambitious. Sounding like Cheap Trick isn't that bad a thing, but no one really wants to listen to a second-rate Cheap Trick.
Top track: Supersonic