stone gossardSTONE GOSSARD– ‘Moonlander’
Pearl Jam have such a merited history of solo workings and side-projects that expectations are justifiably high when any of their members offer an individual or collaborative release.  Mike McCready’s six string work with Mad Season is probably the most noteworthy and critically acclaimed (Matt Cameron with Soundgarden in no way counts as a side-project!).  PJ Guitarist Stone Gossard has clearly been a busy boy and over the years has had several releases with his other band mates Brad, the most recent being 2012. Moonlander is not Gossard’s first solo release; his debut Bayleaf was released on September 11th 2001 and it’s taken almost 12 years to produce its sequel.  The release date of Moonlander is not etched in history but, similar to Bayleaf, it was recorded over the years preceeding its release and largely consists of songs that didn’t quite fit with either Pearl Jam or Brad.  That’s not to say that these tracks are rejects, Gossard just stores the PJ and Brad trademark sounds in separate compartments.  His solo work has clear musical purpose and direction which is simple and undeviating, although sometimes a little too much.  Too many of the songs almost intolerably repeat the same phrase four times; think Motörhead’s ‘Stay Clean’ but less warty.  Opening track ‘I Need Something Different’ is blissfully ignorant in its irony when the title is constantly repeated.  The album as a whole does not quite match up to predecessor Bayleaf but it does continue the same type of loose strumming semi-overdriven relaxed vibe which can be pleasing to listen to in parts. One of the few highlights is ‘Both Live’ with its bright catchy chorus, its bright catchy chorus, its bright catchy chorus, its bright catchy chorus. Annoying isn’t it.  (5)



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