Frontman Michael Stipe reveals how it will sound - and discloses the band's plans for a world tour...

REM are on the verge of finishing their “very, very quiet or very, very loud” new studio album after an intensive spell of recording in the Bahamas.

And frontman Michael Stipe has confirmed the band will be heading out on an extensive world tour almost as soon as the follow-up to 2001’s ‘Reveal’ is released.

Stipe told Virgin Radio: “We’re finishing our next studio album. We’re working on 22 songs and, of those, we have 16 finished. So we’re just kind of trying to figure out what songs we can put together to make the best record we can make.

“It seems like everything is either very, very quiet or very, very loud… there doesn’t seem to be much in between. Right now feels like a time when the songs are really just flowing out of us. Not to sound like a hippy, but there it is.

“We’ve got a lot of material and we’re just kind of refining it and trying to get the best possible recorded version of it in the studio and tinker around with that.”

Among the songs tipped for inclusion on the record are ‘Weatherman’, ‘Make It All OK’, ‘I’m Gonna DJ’, ‘Around The Sun’ and ‘Final Straw’, a version of which the group made available for download last year, as well as playing it regularly on their 2003 ‘Best Of’ tour.

Stipe also revealed the band are currently discussing plans for a major tour to support the band’s 13th studio LP.

He commented: “The record will come out some time in the fall and we’ll be on the road for probably six to eight months and I’m really looking forward to it.”