Apr 2, 2011

R.E.M. "Collapse Into Now" LP

The fire that burned bright for R.E.M. for many years found itself starting to flicker and die down during the mid 90's. Their songwriting and sonic palettes suffered, and the albums that followed seemed more like exercises in meandering
walks in the woods, instead of sounds from a band that if not was a least monumental in inventing the alternative rock genre, influenced an era of musicians and songwriters that followed it.
In 2008 the band released their 14th studio album Accelerate. R.E.M. sounded rejuvenated, like they had found their way out of the woods and, though maybe squinting from the glare, were ready to stand in the light again. While that album showed that the band, who will be celebrating their 30th anniversary as a unit this year, could still throw sparks even if they were still rubbing the sleep out of their eyes. Their new release Collapse Into Now finds the band not afraid to use a little gasoline again to get flames to reach higher.
Lead off single "Mine Smells Like Honey", the semi garage-rock rave up “That Someone Is You” and tongue twister "Alligator Aviator Autopilot Antimatter" are blasts of jangle-n-roar meeting sing along choruses that would not sound out of place from their golden era  IRS days. Others, like accordion and mandolin fortified psych-country weeper “Oh, My Heart” and the lilting “Every Day Is Yours To Win”, hearken back to the days when the band would balance their college rock storming the arena anthems with quieter songs that could be introspective and pretty but not, for the most part, boring.
To say that Collapse Into Now rivals some of their best material would be a slight bit of a stretch. They're a bit long in the tooth and have took many way wide sidesteps the past 15 years or so for that. As a gateway band for me (I was in high school when Murmur came out-listening to it then in turn got me to listen to a lot of things such as 60's garage rock as well as other "underground" bands that were around at the time) and to hear them remember what made them one of the most important bands of the last 30 years and act on it again it shows they still have some fire in their belly and are not yet to be written off as a classic rock band merely going through the motions.


Dr Teeth said...

Reviewing the new REM and liking it to boot? What's next? Reviews on adult diapers? j/k

Dale said...

Maybe so. The hell with punk rock.