With new drummer Matt Cameron—the former Soundgarden skinman—behind the kit, Pearl Jam attacked their sixth studio album with extra velocity. While the group have always insisted on layering their hard rock approach with careful subtleties that help distinguish them from the crowd, they’ve rarely let their pure adrenaline carry the weight. But tracks here such as “God’s Dice,” “Evacuation,” and “Grievance“ throw themselves into the fire with little hesitation. For moments of greater introspection and trepidation, one needs to turn to Eddie Vedder’s quieter moments, like “Light Years” (where his quavering uncertainties vibrate with strong, emotive force) or “Soon Forget” (where he’s joined by a ukulele). Though Pearl Jam were once the world's biggest hard rock band, they never comfortably accepted that title; that reticence has made their albums deep and worthy explorations. With producer Tchad Blake holding things together with his “binaural” recording technique—in which he places two microphones in the room to replicate a listener’s hearing experience—Binaural is a captivating recording of a solid, seasoned band in a room, with some fine songs to boot.