The chiming, acoustic sound of "Hard Sun," the leadoff single from this collection of solo Eddie Vedder material, might lead fans to wonder where the roaring guitars and energy of Pearl Jam have gone. Yet the large-scale anthemic quality of the song, its forceful three-chord progression, and Vedder's familiar gruff and soaring vocals reveal that the singer hasn't strayed far from home. Into the Wild, a soundtrack to the Sean Penn film of the same name, features 11 original tunes from Vedder that largely fit the mold of "Hard Sun." The songs are acoustic, wistful, earnest and open-hearted, yet boast arrangements and a production style that favor a grand sonic sweep over intimacy. Pearl Jam fans will find this release a surprising but satisfying change of pace. ~ Anthony Tognazzini
Q - 3 stars out of 5 -- "The circling banjo of 'No Ceiling' and 'The Wolf''s aptly feral howls evoke long days and cold nights in the wilderness..."
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