Upon its release in 1983, REM’s debut long player grew quickly from a Murmur to a resounding shout from Athens, Ga.; one that continues to ring around the world 25 years later. With the release of the Murmur Deluxe Edition, the feverish embrace of the album by the rock and roll world is further justified.
The remastered album brims with new life, but maintains the energy and soul of the original, the splendid indie sensibility that ignited alternative music and delivered it to the mainstream. The glimmering guitar on “Radio Free Europe” is brighter, “Laughing’s" glowing bass is more tense, and “Perfect Circle” dives deeper into emotional caverns.
And while Murmur has no trouble standing on its own, the Deluxe Edition is sweetened by an unreleased performance from Larry’s Hideaway in Toronto, Canada. Recorded just three months after the album’s release, the performance counters Murmur’s studio perfection with a loose live delivery of nine of the albums tracks, along with early version of tracks that eventually found their way on 1984’2 Reckoning and 1986’s Life’s Rich Pageant.
As remarkable as the influence of Murmur on modern rock music is its timelessness. The 12 songs remain modern, spirited, and innovative 25 years after REM opened the world’s ears to a new sound; one that revised and redefined music and the way we here it.
Murmur Deluxe Edition is out now on I.R.S./Universal.