R.E.M., by bookending the album with the ringing guitar drone of "Discoverer", are suggesting Collapse Into Now has a conceptual unity absent from their recent albums; and certainly, the recurrent themes of conclusion, starting over and rebuilding do lend it a muscular sense of purpose. That muscularity finds its musical equivalent in the rock heft of tracks like "Alligator_Aviator_ Autopilot_Antimatter" and "All the Best", although it's the more tender songs, such as "Überlin" and "Oh My Heart", which are the standouts, recalling Automatic for the People. The latter track, with its waltzing accordion, has a distinctly European flavour, while elsewhere the presence of mandolin/bouzouki folk-rockers like "It Happened Today" and "Me, Marlon Brando, Marlon Brando and I" marks a welcome return to a more varied textural palette.
DOWNLOAD THIS: Überlin; Oh My Heart; It Happened Today; Discoverer
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