Dark Matter opens with blurring guitars and an arena-made melody straight from Pearl Jam’s golden period, plunging listeners into the realm of classic rock which will continue throughout the record. ‘Scared of Fear’ is a fitting first track – it’s bold and I could see it being an addition to my angry gym playlist, though the retrospection in the lyrics allow for a nostalgic take on the band’s youth and successful career.

‘Something Special’ speaks to the band’s longevity, reflecting on the past through its stripped back vocals and folksy feel. It’s a love song to their career, diffusing the intensity built in the previous tracks which are dominated by traditional rock and roll riffs. Don’t get me wrong, I love those tracks, but this is a nice moment of solitude and introspection.

Vedder spoke on this, saying, “…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”.

The engaging balance found between old and new is one of the greatest strengths of Dark Matter. Midtempo songs like ‘Wreckage’, ‘Won’t Tell’ and ‘Setting Sun’ allow for a slower, melancholic feel which contrast with the classic grunge of ‘Running’ and ‘React Respond’.

‘Upper Hand’ is the record’s best track: experimental, fresh, and other-worldly. The intro, on first listen, has a space-like feel, and as the tempo increases so does the anticipation and suspense. Yet after the allusive, spectacular intro a slow verse diffuses the tension of the eruptive bass and drums, in an Alex Turner-esque two minutes of profound and retrospective lyricism. This song feels like an amalgamation of the balancing forces of those which precede, fluctuating between old and new sounds. It’s a powerful track, especially the closing seconds where Vedder belts “carry me home” against one of Mike McCready’s intensely beautiful riffs. This, along with the album as a whole, is sure to be a hit on the upcoming tour.