R.E.M.: Collapse Into Now (Warner Bros)

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The elder statesmen of modern rock found their balls again with 2008’s Accelerate (which really rocked) which help cleanse the palate clean of the bad aftertaste that was 2004’s Around the Sun (which really sucked).

TEXT Azmyl Yunor

R.E.M., you see, are a true functioning democratic unit, with all band members contributing equally. The departure of drummer Bill Berry in 1998 from the equation left a big gap in their modus operandi (he also wrote some of their best songs in the past), so drummer jokes be damned.

With Collapse Into Now, they’ve regained control of their better impulses, and let them loose gloriously, with ex-Ministry guest drummer Bill Rieflin (his third album with the band) finally gelling in as a solid shoe-in for Berry’s fort-like drumming. Although some songs may be accused of rethreads of their greater works, too much of a good thing ain’t bad at all I say.

A soaring R.E.M. chorus is still the best thing since sliced bread and it’s in abundance here in choice cuts like minor-key mid-tempos ‘Uberlin’, ‘Oh My Heart’, and ‘Walk It Back’ and ebullient rockers ‘Discoverer’, ‘Mine Smell Like Honey’ and ‘Alligator_Aviator_Autopilot_Antimatter’ (which feature Peaches).

Hell, even guitarist Peter Buck’s arpeggiated Rickenbacker jangle makes appearances here in between the distortions, and so does bassist Mike Mills’ vocal harmonies, two key elements used to describe the ‘classic’ R.E.M. sound. Frontman Michael Stipe declares “Let’s show the kids how to do it…” on the second track rocker ‘All the Best’, so here’s hoping the kids are listening and taking notes.

LISTEN TO: ‘Uberlin’, ‘All the Best’, ‘Mine Smell Like Honey’
IF YOU LIKE THIS YOU’LL DIG: Counting Crows, Madrugada, Pearl Jam

Collapse into R.E.M.’s back to form here.


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