As you might already know if you read this site, the deluxe edition of R.E.M.'s Fables of the Reconstruction arrives in stores today.
Reviews are slowly coming in:
This remaster opens it up a little more, and certainly does full justice to some of the best crfted harmonies and guitar lines in REM’s catalogue. At the same time this is, at heart, a very obtuse folk-rock album and nothing’s going to change that.
"Fables" is a very different type of reissue: Whereas R.E.M.'s first two albums are generally considered classics of Southern post-punk, their third has never enjoyed such a lofty reputation. So this set is less of a reminder and more of an argument — and a highly persuasive one at that. Sounding both more revealing and more mysterious, it is every bit the equal of its predecessors and sets just as strong a standard for subsequent albums.
Some more discussion about the quality of the remastering on this album.
The album itself is also compressed+clipped (see my essay). Here's a visual. Audio-wise, on a record that Bill is already mixed too quietly, that he's even more buried (due to the heavy compression) is bordering on criminal.
My own opinion of the album so far, remastering wise, is that there are deficiencies in the product. I really do not think that this album is "Opening Up" but rather feeling denser and that is not a good thing. Missing is Bill Berry's drum's which are such an important aspect of their music to raise the levels of inconsequentual buried vocals. I still need several more listens before I can give some type of appropriate review but I figured I would offer some initial thoughts on the album.