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Fables of the Reconstruction Reviews Start Coming In

The reviews of the new deluxe Fables of the Reconstruction are beginning to emerge as both Pop Matters and SoundSpike provide some early comments on the new record.

From Pop Matters:

Addressing Boyd’s concerns about the lack of a dominant element in the mix, Buck’s guitar and Mike Mills’ bass have had their volumes increased. Unfortunately, poor Bill Berry’s drums remain relegated to the background, ensuring that the whole affair remains R.E.M.’s most dated production from the 1980s.


I would also like to post for post sakes,'s Ethan Kaplan on the new rerelease:

Some will complain that the mix is too up front, but you're missing the point. Fables is a rusty railroad spike meant to be tripped over. It was not meant to sit in the background.


And a third opinion from Drew Crumbaugh posted to the REMRing Facebook Wall:

According to the lossless rip I now have of this.... it's super brickwalled. :( Even the demos are squashed. I wouldn't call it a remix as comment#1 implies (increasing volume of Buck/Mills in the mix), rather, the squashed dynamics compress the drum sounds down deep into the overall mix. Yuck. I hear no discernable, "buy this version now" audible ... See More difference between the remastered album, and the original IRS CD, besides an obvious volume boost with brickwalled limiting. It's really yucky and the demos too have been subject to the same indignity.


Drew has also posted a photo of Driver 8 from Disc 2 of the Demos which shows obvious clipping.

If you note the straight line in the middle of the page, this would indicate that the top of the wavelength in this example has been "Clipped" off.


And while I have not had a chance to personally listen to these myself and judge at this point, the concern that I feel early on is that remastering does not equal better. Stay Tuned!