Pearl Jam’s crusading front man follows up his excellent soundtrack for Sean Penn’s Into The Wild with this short, sharp collection of ukulele songs. Perhaps he’s on a mission to reclaim the much maligned instrument back from George Formby, Tiny Tim and Train because he's certainly given it a new lease of life. Vedder manages to summon a whole range of emotion - sweetness and sorrow, blues and euphoria - with very little to work with. He may overpowers guest vocalist Glen Hansard on Sleepless Nights but Cat Power provides a light, wispy contrast to his baritone on Tonight You Belong to Me. Non-Pearl Jam fans will be happy to hear Vedder free of the usual guitar sludge and there is also some blessed brevity but best of all, that weathered-beaten voice really gets to breathe and soar.

Alan Corr