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RNDM: Acts

Another month, another Pearl Jam side-project.

Pearl Jam may be between albums, but their individual members apparently don’t know the meaning of the phrase ‘kicking back.’ The last couple of years have seen the market flooded with side-projects and other bands, from Brad to Walking Papers to Eddie Vedder’s ukelele-bothering solo album.

RNDM finds bassist Jeff Ament chucking his beanie hat in the ring. A collaboration with boho singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur and guitarist Richard Stuverad (himself a member of yet another Ament side-project, Three Fish), it strips away PJ’s latter-day urgency in favour of a darker, moodier approach.

The brooding Dark and beautifully muted optimism of New Tracks aside, Acts is too characterless to leave anything approaching a lasting imprint. Arthur is partly to blame – his bloodless voice is as substantial as cigarette smoke – but the bigger problem is the lack of truly memorable songs.

Proof, then, that not everything needs to be heard outside the rehearsal room.