Lifes Rich Page ant (1986)
With Lifes Rich Pageant, the REM wall of sound was built a little higher and the angular, Gang Of Four-ish sound of their salad days replaced with some sonic muscle. Arguably the strongest ‘Side One’ of their 80s output, the band are tripping over hooks, like the spring-coiled Rickenbacker intro of Begin The Begin and its stomping bridge that seems to anticipate follow-up track These Days, a thundering anthem backed with Stipe’s declaration that ‘we are young despite the times!’. Cuyahoga and Fall On Me settle things down with a suite of purling folk-rock arpeggios, while Mike Mills’ vocal countermelodies transform the latter’s chorus into pure gold.
Recommended track: These Days