Where do they go from here? As the only band still standing from the Seattle scene that exploded in the '90s, Pearl Jam has been struggling to define itself in a music world now dominated by divas and boy bands. "Binaural's" answer seems to be more of the classic-rock gestures of Pearl Jam's early work and 1998's "Yield."
"Binaural's" best rockers come early, particularly opener "Breakerfall," as well as "God's Dice" and the furious "Evacuation." Unfortunately, many of the midtempo ballads that defined albums like "Vs. and Vitalogy" are weighed down by the band's somberness and producer Tchad Blake's densely layered mix that often buries Vedder's vocals.
The result is a solid but uneven listen. "Binaural" reaffirms that there are still very few bands that can rip it up like Pearl Jam. You just wish they'd do it a little more often here.