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R.E.M. Prepares To ´accelerateⴀ

Nobody would ever confuse R.E.M. for Metallica, but the guitars have definitely been turned up for the Georgia group┬┤s 14th studio album, "Accelerate," due April 1 via Warner Bros.

Nearly all the material was tested out during a summer run in Dublin, although manager Bertis Downs tells Billboard a few of those songs didn┬┤t make the cut, and that a couple of album tunes were held back from live airings.

Mostly gone is the drowsy vibe of 2004┬┤s "Around the Sun," with "Living Well Is the Best Revenge," "Horse to Water" and "Staring Down the Barrel of the Middle Distance" recapturing the old R.E.M. energy. "It┬┤s not like we┬┤re going to pretend these are ballads. These are rockers," Downs says.

"I feel like there┬┤s a confidence in the material, and a communication between the three of us that hasn┬┤t been there for some time," frontman Michael Stipe told Uncut. "We didn┬┤t talk to each other for a couple of records -- as friends or as bandmates. And we reached a point before this LP where we just sat down at a table and hashed it out."

R.E.M. will tour this spring; for now, the lone confirmed date is an appearance at the Langerado Festival, which runs March 6-9 in Big Cypress, Fla.


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