I did have some mixed feelings when it comes to anticipation for this album, but having listened through now first impressions are good. I like the rockier songs such as Discoverer, All the Best and Mine Smell like honey, and a lot of the slower ballads such as Every Day is Yours to Win and Uberlin worked well, even though the latter maybe pillaged their earlier masterpiece 'Drive' a fair amount.
Some bits didn't work for me, me, marlon brando, marlon brando and me didn't really do anything for me, nor did alligator aviator antimatter autopilot.
Concluding the album however Blue sounded absolutely fantastic, recalling E-Bow the Letter a bit with spoken word and gorgeous guitar underneath, with Patty Smith again providing longing singing over the top. Wonderful.
In summary, decent album veerying to good, probably still not top drawer sadly, REM albums probably damned to ever suffer in comparison to what has come before, but very much a keeper and definately not another Around the Sun. File next to Out of Time for not that great but lovely stuff on it on present listen but obviously early days, only heard it once. It does seem to be much richer in texture than REM have been for a while, when actually listening to the layers of instruments can be very rewarding.