The frontman describes the recording of the follow-up to 1998's 'Up as a "joy"...

R.E.M frontman Michael Stipe has described the recording of their new album as a “joy” and indicated that it should appear in the coming spring.

The singer, speaking to REM[/a], had been in the studio until May. As previously reported on, they had spent a month in Vancouver laying down tracks, and, according to Stipe, now have some 20 songs in various stages of completion.

“Some are super-embryonic, and others are completely self-realised,” he explained. “It kind of picks up where ‘Up’ left off. Some of it is pretty strange, and that’s the stuff that appeals to me. It’s my job to either make it even more strange or to make it really pop.”

Like 1998’s ‘Up’, widely-viewed as R.E.M‘s return to form following the departure of drummer and founder member Bill Berry, the new album is produced by Pat McCarthy, the man who engineered Madonna‘s ‘Ray Of Light’. Longtime R.E.M associates Joey Waronker, Scott McCaughey and Ken Stringfellow guest on a selection of instruments.