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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Missing one for the packaging,
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Still a great album- among their best. I can't say the remaster has made quite as much of a difference as it did to Reckoning and Murmur, although Stipe's vocals do seem fractionally clearer. I also agree with the other reviewers in that the liner notes really don't do the album justice.
The second disc of demos is an interesting curiosity- basically a stripped down version of the album with a few extras. It probably won't spend a vast amount of time on my stereo but is quite fun and worth having. Maybe more so than Reckoning's live performance.
My only major complaint is the naff packaging. I like the deluxe edition packages. This is just a clumsy oversize box full of junk. The CD's themselves are held by slip-in paper sleeves which guarantees scuffs eventually. As for the poster and postcards? I'm pretty sure most of the people buying this are out of the hero-worshipping teen phase by now. Entirely pointless and badly misjudged.
This is pretty expensive- more so than previous reissues. It is worth a go though, purely down to the sheer quality of the music. Just please take Boyzone's marketing team off the next project.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars REM's DARK HEART,
By the original release of Fables of the Reconstruction things were beginning to move on a global scale for REM. This reissue, if nothing else suggests that the band were facing the first major musical crossroads of their career. The conclusions the band came too were unorthodox- decamp to a cold, grim London, and utilise the services of respected producer, Joe Boyd. Looking back now, Fables of the Reconstruction can be seen as a bold move that encouraged REM to embrace atmosphere and shade into their song writing, leaving a mysterious, yet confident album immersed in, yet apart from its surroundings.
Time has been very kind to Fables [ resisting the temptation to use electronic percussion was an unforeseen masterstroke], and as the opening notes of Feeling Gravity's Pull unfold [ surely the best opening track on any album the band have produced before or since], REM's dark heart is exposed to the world. The re- mastering to my ears has added even more of a trebly overcoat to the albums sound, and the subtle guitars really stand out, whilst the buried vocals just deepen the albums mystique. Also, Bill Berry's drumming is fuller in this new mix, and his imposing cymbals work well, sounding at times as if his percussion work is the fine line between success and failure .Berry, never made a more crucial contribution to REM than on Fables. By the time Wendel Gee kicks in, the welcome relief of a more relaxed sounding band offers a sharp contrast to an album of dark surprises.
The second disc is revelatory as it shows that the initial vision for Fables of the Reconstruction, was radically different from the finished product. Auctioneer opens disc two and it sounds positively cheerful. Ditto Can't Get There From Here, proving that the London experience for REM must have had a deep impact at the time [ just compare Stipe's playful vocals on the demo ,to his final delivery on the album]. On all of these demos, REM sound positive, and looking towards building on the musical foundations laid by their first two albums, adding some credibility to the view that the band were collectively in a bad frame of mind at the time of the album sessions,[ hell even Feeling Gravity's Pull sounds lightweight!].Another absolute gem on disc two is an early demo of the wonderful Hyena, that was left for Lifes Rich Pageant.
The packaging is also well put together, although I do agree that a few more sleeve notes, would have been welcome [ but maybe that just adds to the mystery of Fables], and the postcards and posters are nice but unessential.
Personally, I think this is the best REM reissue so far, because it paints a fuller picture of a troubled album from its initial optimism to its darker, more fulfilling conclusion, and that's really what I want from a "Deluxe Edition", something a little special, and previously unavailable.
On a final note to the record company, I have now bought Fables of the Reconstruction at least four times, and the only way I will do so again is if the band deliver the cd personally, and then play in my living room!!!!
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great music in Poor package,
This is the REM reissue that I have been waiting for and it does not disappoint. The remastering brightens up the original release and the second disc of demos is bleak but brilliant with weary burned-out vocals from Stipe that are close to perfection. A truly great bunch of songs. For me the band's best record. It all comes in a cardboard box (why?)with a pointless poster,four unecessary postcards and Booklet with a few words from PB. Surely the marketing guys could have come up with a better package & booklet for such a great record? Doesn't anyone have Joe Boyd's telephone number? The music rates 5 stars but my rating loses one star for the poor packaging.
5.0 out of 5 stars Rekindles all those memorys,
I remember buying this album on cassette. It brings back all those memorys and more. The box set is self is great with posters and picture cards. The demo CD is great as well and theres an interesting write up on the album aswell. All in all a great addition if your a serious REM fan.
5.0 out of 5 stars Even better than the original,
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This was my favourite of the early REM albums, though the least critically lauded of these - something I could never understand. The guitar intro to Feeling Gravity's Pull is a perfect introduction to this album, Maps and Legends takes it a even greater heights which are repeated all the way to Wendell Gee. The standout track for me is Old Man Kensey - quite a testament on an album full of highlights. The sound is crystal clear as a result of the remastering, though Stipe isn't always comprehensible, but would we have it any other way. Disc 2 is for completists as tends to be the case in these reissues, but intersting nonetheless.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars rewarding given time- great subtle melodies,
after several listens the tunes really emerge. At first the album seems very densely produced but don't be tempted to give up on it. This album probably has more rewarding tunes than either murmur or reckoning which is quite a complement.
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