PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 March, 2011, 12:00am

Collapse Into Now
Warner Bros

'Let's show the kids how to do it fine,' Michael Stipe sings in All the Best, the barnstorming second track from R.E.M.'s 15th album - and he goes on to do just that.

After a decade or so of average album releases, R.E.M. have - on their 30th anniversary - got their mojo back with a gripping collection that ebbs and flows, peaks and troughs to fit thematic moods in ways not seen since their 1980s and early 90s classics.

It's testament to the band's resilience that they can still create music of such cerebral and visceral brilliance. Opener Discoverer is classic R.E.M.: a slow-burn vocal-and-mandolin build-up that shatters in a guitar-drenched explosion.

Mine Smells Like Honey is a surfy pop nugget that evokes the 60s-tinged stormers from the band's late-80s classic fifth album Document that saw them ditch the jingle-jangle guitars for more muscular rock and set the course for their domination of a decade.

It wouldn't be a R.E.M. album without some melancholy and the five ballads here all fire on the gravitas front - the haunting Blue standing out among them courtesy of guest vocals from kindred spirit Patti Smith.

R.E.M. may be your dad's favourite band these days, but that's not to say that they can't still play to a contemporary audience. Only Radiohead and possibly - very possibly - The Cure have managed to keep such flames burning in their old age.