Originally released in 1985, R.E.M.'s third album, 'Fables of the Reconstruction',was previously remastered when it was re-released a few years ago via EMI. Now following on from their first two albums, 1983's 'Murmur' and 1984's 'Reckoning', which came with in concert extra discs from the same period, it too has been given the 25th anniversary remastering treatment. The extra disc here comes with a demos disc, which came out prior to the album being recorded here in London.

'Fables of the Reconsturction' was the first album I bought by the band. I saw them on 'The Old Grey Whistle Test' and fell in love with them then, a relationship that still remains to this day. It was also as they were plugging this album that I saw the band live too for the first time at the Hammersmith Palais in London. I still have the ticket too. 'Fables of the Reconstruction' was produced by Joe Boyd in London, who is noted for producing the first two albums by Nick Drake.

It opens up with 'Feeling Gravity's Pull', a song that remains as original and as fresh as it did 25 years ago when I first heard it. I have heard nothing ever it like it since. Michael Stipe's vocal just floats on top, backed by Peter Buck's edgy guitar, while Bill Berry's drums patter away, and Mike Mills' bass fits in perfectly. R.E.M. have never sounded better or finer. It is a song to lift the spirits of your day away, be that in 1985 or 2010.

'Maps and Legends' is a song to sway too, a perfect example of R.E.M. at their Byrds style best. 'Driver 8' always makes me want to jump around a room, any room at all. I don't care which one. Eeven now all these years on it still does. It is jangly with more grooves then you could ever hope for and perfect Rickenbacker heaven.

'Life and How to Live It' is haunting and very loud. It starts off slowly but soon picks up pace, a full on guitar assault. Fast and edgy, it is again guaranteed to get you dancing.

'Old Man Kinsey' shows off the perfect marriage of Stipe's vocal and Mike Mills' backing harmonies. Guitars jangle and the bass and drums perfectly match again.

'Can't Get There From Here' was my first R.E.M. purchase ever and, a single, came out on 7 and 12 inch. It is full of brass, not something I generally like at all. It's more funky than usual for R.E.M. with the bass upfront.

'Green Grow the Rushes' is another Byrds-influenced number with perfect harmony based vocals. 'Kohoutek' is the odd song here, much louder, again harmony based, jangly but a bit clumsy as well.

'Auctioneer (Another Engine)' is fast paced, and one of my favourite of all the band's songs. Like of this album, it again is usually guaranteed to have me jumping around.

'Good Advices' is heartfelt and heartwarming, and, while again it has a jangle, is more gentle than the rest of the album. It all ends with 'Wendell Gee', which is quite different to the rest of the album having an Americana feel and being a slow perfect burner.

The extra disc features demos of most of the album. Slower in feel, they were recorded in Athens. It contains extras of 'Bandwagon', a song from the time and a new unreleased track, 'Throw those Trolls Away', which is as strong as anything else here.

A must buy if you are a fan.











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