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Fables of the Reconstruction – R.E.M.

R.E.M. Fables of the Reconstruction

Fables Of The Reconstruction

(1985), 8/10
Fables Of The Reconstruction was recorded in London with Fairport Convention and Nick Drake producer Joe Boyd. The Byrds influence was always commented upon in R.E.M.’s early reviews – Peter Buck wrote “we get compared to The Byrds every day”. It might have been expected that Boyd would accentuate such tendencies and lead the band in a more folk influenced direction, but if anything it’s a more eclectic album than its predecessors. Moody pieces like ‘Old Man Kensey’ and ‘Feeling Gravity’s Pull’ account for the album’s sleepy reputation, but there are also bouncier songs like ‘Driver 8’ and ‘Can’t Get There From Here’.

The opening trifecta on Fables Of The Reconstruction is arguably the strongest start to any R.E.M. record. ‘Feeling Gravity’s Pull’ is a weird atmospheric opener, before the album kicks into gear with the catchy folk rocker ‘Maps and Legends’ and the upbeat ‘Driver 8’. The reputation of this album as a downer is further dispelled by the energetic and eccentric power-pop of ‘Life And How To Live It’ and ‘Can’t Get There From Here’, while the stuttering rocker ‘Kohoutek’ is another overlooked gem and the piano driven ‘Wendell Gee’ ends the album on a calming and elegiac note.

Fables Of The Reconstruction is a little inconsistent and disjointed, but it’s still a very good early album.

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