Fables of the Reconstruction, the third album from college rock poster boys R.E.M., showed the band was evolving toward a tighter, more cohesive sound. Sure Murmur and Reckoning will always be trotted out by indie music snobs as among the band’s best – and they were both good albums, unlike anything else that was being played at that time – but Fables of the Reconstruction was far more consistent.
Songs like “Driver 8” and “Can’t Get There From Here” hold up remarkable well two decades later. Built around a concept of the South rebuilding after the Civil War, Fables also finds the band really starting to earn their reputation as innovators of “jangly pop” thanks to Peter Buck’s guitar work on this album.
Recently put out by Capitol, this 25th anniversary release features a remastering of all the original tracks and a second disc of the full album demos, recorded before the band left Athens to go to London to formally record Fables, along with a few extra tracks.
If you don’t already own this album, and there is really no good excuse for not, picking up this re-release is a must.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Top tracks: “Driver 8” and “Can’t Get There From Here”
R.E.M. – Fables of the Reconstruction [25th Anniversary Edition]/2 CDs/2010/25 tracks/Capitol Records