Pearl Jam's self-titled album, the band's first studio release in almost four years, will please fans disappointed by their last poor offering, Riot Act. Their latest album is a collection of 13 angry tunes. The style is orthodox rock 'n' roll: simple, fast and furious. Pearl Jam, never a band renowned for catchy melodies and complex musical arrangements, sacrifices song structure for drama, and the result is a tour de force of raw emotion. Eddie Vedder, the band's frontman, delivers his distinctive power vocals over ferocious riffs provided by Mike McCready and Stone Gossard. Their mighty guitar performances - particularly in the first three numbers Life Wasted, World Wide Suicide and Comatose - are so explosive that Vedder's singing is almost forced into the background. Heated anti-war and anti-Bush messages run through the album, which is no surprise given that Pearl Jam is part of the coalition of top US musicians who launched a series of concerts two years ago to persuade voters to oust President George W. Bush. But there is also tenderness in Come Back and Parachutes, two touching ballads that exemplify Vedder's ability to elicit a wide range of emotions through his vocals. Four years is like a century in today's rapidly changing music industry, but Pearl Jam proves they are still one of the world's best rock bands.