SHINY HAPPY GUITARIST!

Peter Buck says the new material reminds him of the band's classic album 'Document'...

REM have written some of the best songs of their career for their new album, according to guitarist PETER BUCK.

And the star says the new material is reminiscent of the band’s classic 1987 album ‘Document’.

Buck told MTV: “If we quit today, we’d have half of the greatest record we’ve ever made. Nine of the songs are as good as anything we’ve ever written.”

He added: “It reminds me of ‘Document’ if it were more acoustic and crazier. There are already seven songs we’ve done that have to be on there.”

Among the tracks expected to make the cut is the band’s reaction to the war in Iraq, ‘The Final Straw’, a live version of which the band made available as a free download on their official website [url=]remhq.com.

The band’s still-untitled follow-up to 2001’s ‘Reveal’, which will be their third as a trio since the departure of founding member Bill Berry in 1997, is due next year. Buck revealed REM

have recorded 35 tracks, with a few weeks of recording left before they begin a summer world tour. Buck, bassist Mike Mills and singer Michael Stipe have been joined in the studio by Ministry drummer Bill Rieflin and Young Fresh Fellows leader and regular collaborator Scott McCaughey.

Before the release of the new LP, REM will release a ‘Best Of’ compilation spanning their 15 years and seven albums at Warner Bros.. The collection, due on September 30, will contain at least two previously unreleased tracks, including fan favourite ‘Bad Day’, recorded in 1986.

REM begin a European tour on June 27 with a headline appearance at Glastonbury, where they played a triumphant show in 1999.