The worst time to release a new record turns out to be exactly when it's most needed, with Pearl Jam's 11th album dual-powered by another contradiction: it makes you cherish the security of home while longing for wide open spaces.
Divided between foot-to-the-floor rockers, ballads and forays to the outer limits of their sound, Gigaton marks the end of the longest wait for new music from Pearl Jam - over six years. If that superlative hasn't resulted in the classic fans might expect, it does prove that the band are in remarkably good shape as they head towards the 30th anniversary of their career-making debut, Ten.
Turns out that February's Talking Headsesque calling card Dance of the Clairvoyants isn't the most startling here, but rather how applicable Gigaton's lyrics are to the endless weeks that have followed. "It takes a village, but it won't take mine"; "When the past is the present and the future's no more and every tomorrow is the same as before"; "Moved on from disappointment, left it in the bed" and "Our courage melts away, it comes and goes" are just some of the lines that feel like they were put to paper earlier this morning. Crucially, a sense of hope triumphs throughout, with the aptly-titled closer River Cross drifting away on the exhortation to "Share the light, won't hold us down".
Over to us...