Album review: R.E.M. - Collapse Into Now

Have the American icons channeled the zest for life their latest opus suggests? And if so, can they keep a lid on it?

After 2008’s nearly-thrilling Accelerate, the alt-rock titans have turned to themselves for inspiration, squeezing elements from their sizeable songbook into a blender and chucking the lot into a bathtub.

Crackling with vitality, wonderful Peter Buck guitar melodies and at ease with themselves, this is their most uplifting record in years.

Michael Stipe incites us to reach for the top in the fogged dreamadelica of Every Day Is Yours To Win and to ‘show the kids how to do it fine’ in the carefree emancipation of vintage R.E.M. rocker All The Best.

There’s classic Drive-style jangly indie in the post-disaster Oh My Heart, while Patti Smith enriches the evocative tone-poem and album closer Blue.

This might be their 15th studio album, but here they feel fresh, relevant and ready for the future.

4 stars