MUSIC: NEW ADVENTURES IN HI-FI

R.E.M. SHOWS WHAT IT TAKES TO MAINTAIN LONGEVITY IN THE HIT-AND-FADE WORLD OF ALTERNATIVE ROCK

The rock group R.E.M. is not only one of the best bands in America, it is also one of the most consistent. Since its debut in 1983, the band has released nine major albums, and every one has set a high standard; several, including Murmur (1983), Automatic for the People (1992) and Monster (1994), have become classics. The band's latest CD, New Adventures in Hi-Fi (out Sept. 10), is not great R.E.M., but it is good R.E.M., which is to say it's as thoughtful and well constructed as any rock release that's come out this year. While many bands revel in...

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