R.E.M.: Reckoning Deluxe Edition 

In 1983, Murmur underscored the Deep South isolation responsible for R.E.M.'s moody interpretation of that era's post-punk, folk and new wave sounds. In turn, the '84 follow-up Reckoning shows the effects of fresh, world-weary exposure on the group. From the opening drum salvo, sweet vocal melodies and jangling guitar lines of "Harborcoat," Reckoning is a clean, clear-eyed next step that refines the group's pedigree of dark, accomplished pop songwriting. "7 Chinese Bros.," "Pretty Persuasion," "Camera" and "(Don't Go Back to) Rockville" are an undulating but direct sonic panorama of baroque atmospherics summoned by minimal rock 'n' roll arrangements. A bonus live disc captures the raw energy of the group's shows at the time, adding new dimensions to the studio recording and further highlighting the band's timeless qualities 25 years down the road. (IRS) 5 stars out of 5

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