2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
THE BEST 60'S ART ALBUM OF THE 80'S,
This review is from: Reckoning (Audio CD)
Like many REM fans I got into them with "Automatic for the People" way back in 93. I was not into music really at the time, but the singles "Man on the Moon", "Sidewinder" and "Everyone Hurts" tuned me into the world of REM. When I got hold of a copy it blow my mind, then to descover there were albums before "Automatic" and "Out of Time" I soon got the lot and this album along with "Murmur" showed me not only there was life back then but they were so much better then now! People can talk about the production not being up to scratch, but what are they talking about? The passion and the powerful drive of a track like "Petty Persuasion" with its deep layers of guitar, rock solid rythem, and superb vocal harmony blows the leafs of the so called mucking mix. In some ways this album reminds me of the Clash's debut,with the pruduction and the sometimes mumbling vocals that could put some people off,but the quality of the tunes we hook you in! Till you no every hook and lyric off by heart. This album has been liken to "the Byrds" but I don't hear that apart from the Country Rock of "Don't go back to Rockville", Which is a top tune, but there is a more of a move into Folk Rock, especially on "So Central Rain", but tracks like "7 Chinese Bros" and especially "Time after Time" sound closer to the "The Velvet Underground". In fact they were recording a few covers of the group back then (check out the Dead letter office compilation for them) so this could explain the similarity of "Time after Time" and the Velvet's "Venus in Furs". The top track for me is the opener "Harborcoat" with its spiky guitar and jumpy rythem finds REM in full post-punk form. Eslewhere on "Second Guessing" and "Little America" finds them taking on Power-pop-punk, while "Letter never sent" and "Camera" just plod a long and are the weakest tracks here, but saying that they are still pretty good. Overall this is one of the best REM albums out there and is always the one I would recommend to people who don't know where to start!