R.E.M continue the comeback

Wave after wave of concerned disappointment seemed to greet every single R.E.M album release post "Automatic For The People". Things came to an unsavoury head in 2004 when utterly bereft of inspiration 'Around The Sun' poked it’s weary head out over the parapet only to be met with total derision by press and fan alike.

It seemed that R.E.M, once the most important rock band on the planet, were musically moribund. 2008’s release "Accelerate" was the groups last chance to breathe some life back into their artistically stagnant brand of high brow dream rock, because if it didn’t the group would have been critically six feet under before you could’ve said “Bill Berry”.

Luckily and happily "Accelerate" hit most of the right notes and brought the once continually shifting R.E.M sound back into line with their 80’s heyday. So with all this in mind it’s hard to be overly critical of ‘Hollow Man’ the bands latest effort. It’s a breezy, summery, pop number with more than enough to keep the fans amused. Stipe’s voice is as rich and epic as ever, the guitar hooks are there (and immeasurably pleasing to hear) and it sounds just like classic R.E.M.

Yes it’s nothing new, yes it won’t win them any new admirers and yes it’s exactly the kind of thing they used to do in their sleep . . . but it’s been so long in coming it’s hard not to sit back with a smile on your face safe in the knowledge that they still have what it takes to do what they do best.