When evaluating R.E.M.'s thirty year career it becomes apparent that it can be broken down into three very specific categories. Their early years, where they were the champions of college rock, were spent adopting and defining the sound through which they would eventually be intrinsically associated. Their middle third, the times of Automatic For The People and Monster, saw them become one of the biggest rock acts on the planet while in their latter years, after the departure of Bill Berry, they tried to fit into the role of a threepiece. Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982-2011 chronicles all three eras succinctly.
R.E.M.'s early career, around Murmur and Reckoning, was where the Athens, Georiga, band found their identity. Songs like 'Gardening at Night' and 'Radio Free Europe' are examples of a band beginning to really understand and explore the tools available to them. It was this time, Michael Stipe has said, that R.E.M. First began experimenting with overdubbing on multitrack tape, adding yet further dimension to their songwriting style while Stipe truly found his voice.
Because this collection is chronological it plays out as a pretty good indicator of the ebbs and flows of R.E.M.'s career. For that reason, the middle section - spanning the second half of CD one and the first half of CD two - is a mirror of the band when their powers were their most honed. 'Stand', 'Losing My Religion', 'Man On The Moon', 'Nightswimming', 'What's The Frequency, Kenneth?' and 'At My Most Beautiful' all follow closely to each other, despite being separated by the passing of time, several years in some cases.
Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982-2011 is an effective collation of R.E.M.'s career. While it's nigh on impossible to condense a musical lifetime such as R.E.M.'s into a two CD collection, this does as good a job as any and if this makes some people invest in some original R.E.M. Albums, even better.