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115) REM - Document

The Go-Betweens review of 16 Lovers Lane I mentioned a compilation tape made by a girl madly in love with me (the compilation tape bit is true).

Side one of the tape was REM who I told her I knew. I knew End of the World and One I Love but when you are trying to impress a girl and all you really know about is football and music and she mentions a band that you don’t really know there has to be a bit of bluffing or basically lying.

This is REM pre mega stardom, they made many a good album during their superstar years and this one has its moments.

The band have found their feet with an excellent rhythm section and Peter Buck is not jangling but hitting riffs and Stipe has decided we should maybe understand what he is singing.

Finest Worksong launches us in over a livewire guitar from Buck and we are then into the sound of a typewriter and Berry’s drums for Exhuming McCarthy with Mick Mills backing vocals a welcome contrast as Stipe storms in. Heron House is solid and their cover of Wire’s Strange is great just two minutes of riffs and excellent “du du du du’s” from the band, I hope Wire made a few quid from it.

It's the End of is one of those songs that was not a hit, but everyone knows it, catchy as hell I believe is the phrase and Stipe shows he is a lead singer and a half.

The One I Love, their first hit, has that riff and is unforgettable whereas in contrast Fireplace is instantly forgettable, who thought the sax was a good idea?

The traditional side two is a drop of as Lightnin’ Hopkins King of Birds and Oddfellows never reach the heights of the first side.

So, it’s something that started so promisingly and then kind of fades away……a bit like me and the girl.


GIVE IT A STREAM: It’s the End of the World As We Know It

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