Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam, 2013.

(photo: Danny Clinch)

Release Date: Oct. 15
Label: Monkeywrench/Republic

Pearl Jam launched "Lightning Bolt," its first studio album since 2009's Billboard 200 No. 1 "Backspacer," with a July announcement as well as with the snarling whiplash of lead single "Mind Your Manners," which rises 3-2 on the Active Rock chart. Since then, the veteran Seattle quintet has shared other facets of the forthcoming 10th studio effort by debuting two songs live at Chicago's Wrigley Field: tender ballad "Future Days," which features producer Brendan O'Brien on keys, and the title track, a midtempo rocker. O'Brien, who has worked with PJ for 20 years, notes that frontman Eddie Vedder "sings his ass off on this record," particularly on "Sirens," which he calls "one of the best songs they've ever written."

He adds that "Sirens" and another album track, "Infallible," are both "very melodic and beautiful songs." The recording of "Lightning Bolt" began with sessions in early 2012 after the blitz surrounding Cameron Crowe's 2011 "Pearl Jam Twenty" documentary and was finished during sessions at Los Angeles' Henson Recording Studios earlier this year. "Especially when we were finishing up," O'Brien says, there was a sense of "unity, everybody pulling together, and there was a joy about what we were doing. The songs have a lot of drama—they're good at that. But there wasn't a lot of drama from the [process], just a lot of everyone enjoying."

The 12-song set, whose full track list was revealed by the band on Twitter on August 30, also includes a version of "Sleeping By Myself," a song which first appeared on Vedder's 2011 solo album "Ukulele Songs."

"I think it's a great representation of their work right now," O'Brien says of "Lightning Bolt." "If you like Pearl Jam, you'll love this. And if you haven't listened to Pearl Jam in awhile, I think it's going to bring you in. That's the whole idea."

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