R.E.M.’s debut was a brilliant, original masterpiece, blending punk, garage and folk influences with their own inspired musical vision, and in the process creating a perplexing and organic whole. Michael Stipe’s muffled, mumbled vocals were the focus of attention, seemingly consisting of phonetic approximations of words rather than actual lyrics (significantly, ‘conversation fear’ was the only audible lyric in ‘9-9’). Peter Buck’s insistent Rickenbacker dominates the melodies, and the echoing vocal harmonies are precise throughout. Providing alternative radio anthems (‘Radio Free Europe’) as well as understated R.E.M. classics (‘Perfect Circle’), this remains one R.E.M.'s best albums, and one of the sharpest indie debuts in popular music history.
Tracks: Radio Free Europe; Pilgrimage; Laughing; Talk About The Passion; Moral Kiosk; Perfect Circle; Catapult; Sitting Still; 9-9; Shaking Through; We Walk; West Of The Fields....