While Accelerate is louder and faster than any R.E.M. album in over a decade, its energy is merely a byproduct of the real triumph here: R.E.M. sound like a band again. They start strong and just get better over the first three tracks, as Buck's shimmering riffs interlock with Mills' melodic bass runs and clarion harmonies, lifting Stipe's vocals to another plane. Even "Hollow Man," which starts as a tender piano ballad, can't help getting big and beefy when the chorus rolls around. By abandoning any pretense of forging new ground, R.E.M. rediscover the joy of rocking.