• Record Label: Republic
  • Release Date: Apr 19, 2024

Universal acclaim - based on 17 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
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  1. Apr 15, 2024
    Dark Matter is many things. It’s thrilling. It’s moving. It’s surprising. It’s a band still operating at the peaks of their powers.
  2. Apr 19, 2024
    Is Dark Matter that different from immediate predecessors Backspacer, Lightning Bolt, and Gigaton? Not really. But is it somehow Pearl Jammier, in an ineffable sense? Yep—in fact, it’s something special.
  3. Apr 22, 2024
    Made up of 11 taut tracks, the highlights come thick and fast.
  4. Apr 19, 2024
    Best of all, it’s an album that cuts all the fat – it’s just 11 tracks long and there’s barely anything that feels like filler. Even the more generic sounding rockers like Waiting For Stevie and Running have a palpable energy about them that will no doubt make them firm favourites on the band’s upcoming stadium tour.
  5. 80
    Musically, Dark Matter is some of their catchiest and punchiest material in years. It’ll have you nodding your head – but it’ll never let you get comfortable.
  6. Apr 18, 2024
    Dark Matter is streamlined and purposeful, never overstaying its welcome on either the ballads or rockers. While that can be a slight detriment with on the album's loudest number--combined, the sleek sound and concise compositions give the faintest suggestion of restraint--the efficiency is ultimately to the band's benefit, highlighting their empathetic interplay by pushing melodies and hooks to the forefront.
  7. Apr 17, 2024
    A fast-paced, immediate selection ‘Dark Matter’ easily ranks amongst Pearl Jam’s most straight-forwardly enjoyable releases.
  8. 80
    Not only does it showcase Pearl Jam reclaiming the charm that first made them a force to be reckoned with back in 1991, it comes alongside some of their most impressive musicianship yet, as well as a determination to take risks after years of playing it safe.
  9. Apr 17, 2024
    With Dark Matter, the band has rarely sounded more essential.
  10. 80
    They have directly inspired some truly dire pretenders to the throne in the intervening years, but Dark Matter sees them sweep those bands away, and reset and reclaim their own signature sound. [May 2024, p.72]
  11. Apr 15, 2024
    That Dark Matter succeeds so well is due to the and focusing their creative energy, just as Watt's sonic Nutribullet technique condense PJ's core rumble into punchy blasts. [May 2024, p.82]
  12. Uncut
    Apr 15, 2024
    This is a fretful and ferocious record, lyrically much preoccupied with things having ended or appearing about to end, but musically much more blaze of glory than any kind of funeral pyre. [May 2024, p.40]
  13. Apr 19, 2024
    Overall, Dark Matter ended up as the most interesting and energized record since Backspacer. It seems pushing the band to work fast in the studio yields better results. Of course, most of the material here sounds familiar, but the members feel once more invested in it.
  14. Apr 19, 2024
    It is when the band—and Watt—evoke Pearl Jam’s stunning capacity to rage at the injustices of the world, invoking personal grievances in equal measure, that Dark Matter is at its best (see “React, Respond” and “Waiting For Stevie”), while less on-brand tracks like “Upper Hand,” which enters on a synthesizer intro, embrace novelty with mixed results.
  15. Apr 18, 2024
    At its best it's far closer to the sort of comeback album that reminds listeners why they loved the music in the first place, instead of the hollow nostalgia of past glories.
  16. Apr 23, 2024
    On this one, they fall short of reinvention, which also means they are still—improbably, unmistakably—Pearl Jam.
  17. Apr 19, 2024
    By now, most listeners will know where they stand on Vedder’s distinctive holler and the band’s beefiness; little on Dark Matter is likely to enchant gen Z away from their own heroes. But the faithful will rejoice.

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