R.E.M. - Chronic Town (EP - 1982) Review

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19 jan 2010, 04:57



When R.E.M.'s first single was released on Hib-Tone records in 1981 it became a local hit, garnering them interest from I.R.S. records, a small record label. The single, called Radio Free Europe reached great success in the burgeoning college radio community, prompting R.E.M. to record a five-song EP. This EP would come to be known as Chronic Town, and was released the following year on I.R.S. Records, with whom R.E.M. would work until 1988's Green.

Chronic Town begins with a quick arpeggiated guitar riff courtesy of Peter Buck, who would become known for his jangly style. This riff immediately grabs the attention of the listener, who is swept in by it's cyclical feel and its catchiness. The song, called Wolves, Lower, progresses into a vocally unintelligible yet straightforward pop song, and serves as a model for the rest of the EP. For all of Michael Stipe's poetic lyricism and Peter Buck's spindly Rickenbacker guitar work, this is simply a collection of five near perfect pop songs and little more. From the hit-single-that-never-was Gardening at Night, to the stunning Carnival of Sorts (Box Cars), Chronic Town is, at its heart, a pop album. However despite the very young age of the band members at the time, the EP never fails to come off as mature and well developed, thanks in large part to the fantastic rhythm section that is Mike Mills and Bill Berry.

Honestly, this EP could not have been more promising. With the stellar single Radio Free Europe and the Chronic Town EP at its back, R.E.M. was on the road to becoming a fantastically quirky alternative pop band. However, with their next record and the many subsequent releases, they would prove to be much more than that.
Godkända inlägg
R.E.M., MusicBanter

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