Sunday, May 25, 2008

new tunes from R.E.M. and Sam Roberts

I just picked up the new R.E.M. album, Accelerate, and the new Sam Roberts Band album, Love at the End of the World. Both are excellent discs.

For R.E.M., Accelerate is a return to form as the 11 songs clock in at just a hair under 35 minutes and the thing rocks like a mother. It's reminding me a lot of a hybrid between Lifes Rich Pageant (there's supposed to be no apostrophe--grammatically frustrating for me!) and Monster, especially because Peter Buck's electric guitar is at the forefront of these songs and it's nice to hear him rockin' out. What a treat after 2004's flaccid and sterile-sounding Around the Sun. If you like R.E.M., pick this album up--great hooks, loud guitars, sweet backing vocals/bass by Mike Mills (as per usual), and Michael Stipe's oblique weirdness are all in full effect!

Love at the End of the World continues to build on Sam Roberts' love of classic rock and catchy hooks. It didn't grab me in quite the same way as did 2005's epic masterpiece Chemical City, but it is FAR from being a disappointing album and upon repeated listens it just gets better and better. Lots of religious imagery and reflection on the state of the world. Sam sounds like Sam, with that comforting (to me and Caitlin, anyway) and recognizable voice, the guitars are warm and lively--there are no weak tracks, and the production is exceptional! These boys do us Canadians proud!

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