R.E.M. - Collapse Into Now

by Dan Clay Rating:9 Release Date:2011-03-07

In a very similar vein to Thom Yorke's frustratingly reluctant desire to create another stunning album, to many a casual observer R.E.M. have almost defiantly refused to build on the acoustic success of both Out of Time and Automatic for the People and instead embraced their earlier punky-rock roots. While subsequent albums have shown either patchy brilliance (Monster, Up, Reveal) or despair (Around the Sun) only Accelerate and the underrated New Adventures in Hi-Fi have shown exactly what Stipe and co are really capable of. Now, with a lot of positive noise from the band comes their 15th album, Collapse into Now, promising a return to form which, for a huge part delivers admirably.

First taster

and 'It Happened Today' being us the acoustic melancholy that might appeal to a wider fan base; the middle song reflecting the band's response to New Orleans' post-Katrina upheaval while the latter makes good use of Eddie Vedder's backing vocals to harmonious effect.

Sounding eerily similar to Richard Hawley's 'Baby You're My Light', '

, sounding much like previous collaboration 'E-Bow the Letter', all melancholy, circling rhythms without the latter's haunting melody, despite an ending which brings things pleasingly full circle.

So, it's another perfect example of any R.E.M. album since their major commercial breakthrough in the early 90s; a solid album with some great tracks ('Every Day', 'Uberlin', 'All the Best') amid plenty of other decent ones too. A return to form? Well, for those who've been listening, R.E.M. have rarely been out of form, and Collapse into Now proves just that.

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