High time for some Pearl Jam reissues to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the No Code-heralded next phase of their career. No Code found the band kicking back against their success with a wider, more experimental range of sounds: a bit of psych, a bit of garage. This reissue, the first vinyl release for the album since back-in-the-day, is out on Legacy.
Vinyl LP £33.99 88875188981
Reissue LP on Legacy in 8-panel gatefold sleeve. Includes 9 random replica Polaroid’s/lyric cards.
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- No Code by Pearl Jam
4/10 The Doc 10th August 2016
For a group of such talented musicians, Pearl Jam have made an awful lot of dull music over the years, and this album really marks the point when they descended into full-on mediocrity. In the early days, whether you were a fan or not, you could always rely on them producing a few diamonds on every record; the classic rock-infused Ten had a smattering of undeniably great songs (Jeremy, Even Flow, Black), the raw thrash of Vs was even better (Rear-view Mirror is probably the best song they ever wrote), and even the what-the-hell-have-you-guys-been-huffing?! weirdness of Vitalogy had Nothing Man, Better Man and Immortality, to name but three. But with No Code the good bits are missing, for the most part, with the end result being a meandering, unfocused bore. It’s notable that the two best tracks on here are the ones that don’t really sound like Pearl Jam at all; Off He Goes is a lovely strumalong which showcases a stripped back side they rarely show, with Vedder’s vocals as vulnerable as they’ve ever been and the confessional lyrics really coming to the fore. But the other standout is Mankind, a composition written and sung by Stone Gossard that sounds more like a Pavement outtake than a mainstream rock band. Follow-up album Yield was better than this, just, but after that it was just record after record of identikit Pearl Jam-by-numbers and no one needs to be listening to that.
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