Thursday, March 27, 2008

R.E.M. (REM) - Accelerate Double LP

On 2008's ACCELERATE, its first studio album after being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, R.E.M. fittingly returns to its post-punk roots, offering up a taut, guitar-driven set that serves as the perfect antidote to the slow, snoozy AROUND THE SUN. Aiding frontman Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, and bassist Mike Mills in this convincing return to vintage form is U.K. producer Jacknife Lee, best known for working with Bloc Party and, appropriately, R.E.M.'s peers U2. While those acts often aim for widescreen majesty, however, Stipe, Buck, and Mills seem to have remembered that the group's strength lies in concise, pithy tunes, and Lee is quite willing to meet that aesthetic, as evinced on the restless opener, "Living Well Is the Best Revenge," and the raucous "Horse to Water." Of course, the Georgian band hasn't forgotten its artistic evolution from MURMUR, nodding subtly to GREEN on the shimmering "Supernatural Superserious" and evoking AUTOMATIC FOR THE PEOPLE on the pensive "Until the Day Is Done." Easily R.E.M.'s finest album since NEW ADVENTURES IN HI-FI, ACCELERATE stands as one of the revered ensemble's most immediate and engaging records, and will undoubtedly please fans who have patiently been waiting for the trio to embark on a U2-like rejuvenation.

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