R.E.M.: At the BBC (Craft) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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At the BBC


Oct 22, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Seven years after their amicable split following a 31-year career, Athens GA’s finest exports R.E.M. are still in demand. Following last year’s exhaustive and rather wonderful treasure trove reissue of Automatic for the People, completists will be thrilled by Craft Recordings dedication to releasing comprehensive sets with this nine-disc behemoth.

Stretching from a ragged and atmospheric Nottingham Rock City live recording from ‘84, via Peel Sessions, the legendary Milton Keynes Monster tour show, and a frantic Glastonbury headline slot to their invite-only set at London St. James’s Church in 2004, ending, chronologically, with their last Live Lounge appearance in 2008 this is about as collector-friendly as it gets. Throw in a DVD of TV appearances and you’ve got the Christmas gift to beat all.

But what of the music? And what is there even to write about it that’s not been said a thousand times before? Acoustic strum versions of “Fretless” and “Half a World Away” remind you just how masterful they were as songwriters, consistently blending the heartfelt with the obscure, the crazily accessible with the innately opaque. From their beginnings as a mumbling Byrds-inspired indie band, through the lengthy time when they were both the biggest and best band in the world (not often you can say that) to their confused but occasionally compelling post-Bill Berry decline, this set captures and crystallizes moments that typify each stage of an incredible career.

The Glastonbury performance of “Man on the Moon” is perhaps the best example of stadium rock this side of Springsteen while the version of “E-Bow the Letter” featuring Thom Yorke is a spine-chiller only equaled by a dreamlike version of “Country Feedback.” There are days’ worth of wonderful, strange tunes to trawl through here.

While it may feel like there’s no more to say on the subject of R.E.M.‘s music, there’s certainly plenty more that’s worthwhile to listen to here. (www.remhq.com)

Author rating: 8.5/10

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October 24th 2018

Great post! I didn’t knowral of these resources and I’m going to go check them out now! thank for sharing