Though critics swamped R.E.M.'s 1983 full-length debut with country-rock comparisons to the
Byrds, Murmur sounds like no one else. The title is an apt description of Michael Stipe's
singing style, although his smooth pop vocal mannerisms sweeten the enigmatic poetry. Like
all great bands, R.E.M.'s individual parts (Peter Buck's ringing guitar, drummer Bill Berry's
persistent thumping, and Mike Mills's unifying bass) are as interesting as the collective sound.
The album-opening "Radio Free Europe" and "Talk About the Passion" endure as its radio singles,
but the rest of the songs hang together well taken as a whole