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Pearl Jam Return: New Single, Album, World Tour Details

'Dark Matter' is out April 19, while its powerful title track is available now
Pearl Jam (photo: Danny Clinch)

After debuting their upcoming album at a private event at Los Angeles’ Troubadour on Jan. 31 but withholding nearly all details from publication, Pearl Jam is making a lot of noise today (Feb. 13). The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers have revealed “Dark Matter,” the first single and title track from their new Monkeywrench/Republic release, which is out on April 19, and announced a world tour, beginning May 4 in Vancouver.

The 11-track follow-up to 2020’s Gigaton was produced by Andrew Watt, conceptualized in July 2021 at his Beverly Hills, Ca., studio while he was working on Eddie Vedder’s Earthling and largely recorded at Rick Rubin’s Shangri-La over the course of three weeks of sessions last year. It can be pre-ordered here

“Dark Matter” is a powerful opening blast built on a series of descending riffs, a rhythmic cadence recalling both Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock’n’Roll” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady,” a stuttering, processed guitar figure reminiscent of the band’s 2002 song “You Are,” a wild, screaming solo from Mike McCready and an intense, age-defying vocal from Pearl Jam’s 59-year-old-frontman. All five members of the band have a songwriting credit on it, as does Watt.

“Denounce the demigods / king diamond to discard / deploy the dialog / your word against the law,” Vedder sings before the chorus, which carries the repeated couplet “It’s strange these days, when everybody else pays for someone else’s mistake / this blame takes shape, still everybody else pays for someone else’s mistake.”

Sonically, “Dark Matter” slots in somewhere between the more tightly wound Pearl Jam of Vs. and the sleek, angry rockers found on later albums such as Binaural. Vedder’s trademark turn-of-phrase is evident during the zig-zagging bridge, where he commands, “No tolerance for intolerance or / no patience left for impatience no more / no love lost for lost loves / no sorrow for the unaccountable.”

Watt encouraged Pearl Jam to write and shape the material with all five members in the same room, and that spontaneous approach is immediately evident on Dark Matter. The album opens with the driving, major-key rocker “Scared of Fear,” with Vedder reminiscing to a subject only he knows, “We used to laugh, we used to sing, we used to crash, we used to believe.” And while arena-ready songs such as “React, Respond” and “Running” find Pearl Jam at their heaviest on an album in some time and “Waiting for Stevie” has an almost Singles-era classic Pearl Jam feel, Dark Matter also dials down the bombast with nods to the chiming, acoustic-flavored sound of the late Tom Petty on “Wreckage” and “Got To Give.” There’s even a song about parenting, “Something Special,” which Vedder said at the Troubadour was co-written with touring member Josh Klinghoffer.

“We’re still looking for ways to communicate. We’re at this time in our lives when you could do it or you could not do it, but we still care about putting something out there that is meaningful. No hyperbole — I think this is our best work,” Vedder said of the new album at the Troubadour. “I couldn’t be prouder of us as a band,” said bassist Jeff Ament, who praised Watt’s “encyclopedic knowledge” of the Pearl Jam catalog and his boundless enthusiasm for getting the band to work more quickly and collaboratively.

Meanwhile, the first North American leg of the Dark Matter trek hits the West Coast in May, including the band’s first shows in their Seattle hometown since 2018. It will be followed by a U.K./European visit in late June and early July, encompassing stops at Dublin’s 40,000-capacity Marlay Park and London’s 63,000-capacity Tottenham Spur Stadium, among others.

A second round of North American shows gets underway Aug. 22 in Missoula, Mt., and after hitting familiar locales such as Chicago’s Wrigley Field and New York’s Madison Square Garden, wraps with Sept. 15 and 17 blowouts at Boston’s Fenway Park. In November, Pearl Jam will tour New Zealand and Australia after a 10-year absence from the region.

Support acts are Deep Sea Diver (North America leg 1), Glen Hansard (North America leg 2), former the Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft (Dublin, London) the Murder Capital (U.K./EU) and Pixies (Australia/New Zealand). Tickets will be available through Ticketmaster registration today through Feb. 18, with the actual on-sale set for Feb. 23. Members of Pearl Jam’s Ten Club fan organization are eligible to participate in a separate pre-sale, details for which can be found here.

The Dark Matter album packaging features light painting art by Alexandr Gnezdilov, who utilized a large, handmade kaleidoscope to write each letter with a special flashlight to create a pearlescent effect.

Pearl Jam Dark Matter tracklisting:

Scared of Fear
React, Respond
Dark Matter
Won’t Tell
Upper Hand
Waiting for Stevie
Something Special
Got To Give
Setting Sun

Pearl Jam’s 2024 tour dates:

May 4-5: Vancouver (Rogers Arena)
May 10: Portland, Or. (Moda Center)
May 13: Sacramento, Ca. (Golden 1 Center)
May 16, 18: Las Vegas (MGM Grand Garden Arena)
May 21-22: Los Angeles (Kia Forum)
May 25: Napa Valley, Ca. (BottleRock Festival)
May 28, 30: Seattle (Climate Pledge Arena)
June 22: Dublin (Marlay Park)
June 25: Manchester, U.K. (Manchester Co-Op Arena)
June 29: London (Tottenham Spur Stadium)
July 2-3: Berlin (Waldbühne)
July 6, 8: Barcelona (Palau Sant Jordi)
July 11: Madrid (Mad Cool Festival)
July 13: Lisbon (NOS Alive Festival)
Aug. 22: Missoula, Mt. (Washington-Grizzly Stadium)
Aug. 26: Noblesville, In. (Ruoff Music Center)
Aug. 29, 31: Chicago (Wrigley Field)
Sept. 3-4: New York (Madison Square Garden)
Sept. 7, 9: Philadelphia (Wells Fargo Center)
Sept. 12: Baltimore (CFG Bank Arena)
Sept. 15, 17: Boston (Fenway Park)
Nov. 8: Auckland (Go Media Stadium Mt. Smart)
Nov. 13: Gold Coast, Australia (Heritage Bank Stadium)
Nov. 16: Melbourne (Marvel Stadium)
Nov. 21: Sydney (Giants Stadium)