Nobody would ever confuse R.E.M. for Metallica, but the guitars have definitely been turned up for the Georgia group's 14th studio album, "Accelerate," due April 1 via Warner Bros.

Nobody would ever confuse R.E.M. for Metallica, but the guitars have definitely been turned up for the Georgia group's 14th studio album, "Accelerate," due April 1 via Warner Bros.

Nearly all the material was tested out during a summer run in Dublin, although manager Bertis Downs tells Billboard a few of those songs didn't make the cut, and that a couple of album tunes were held back from live airings.

Mostly gone is the drowsy vibe of 2004's "Around the Sun," with "Living Well Is the Best Revenge," "Horse to Water" and "Staring Down the Barrel of the Middle Distance" recapturing the old R.E.M. energy. "It's not like we're going to pretend these are ballads. These are rockers," Downs says.

"I feel like there's a confidence in the material, and a communication between the three of us that hasn't been there for some time," frontman Michael Stipe told Uncut. "We didn't talk to each other for a couple of records -- as friends or as bandmates. And we reached a point before this LP where we just sat down at a table and hashed it out."

R.E.M. will tour this spring; for now, the lone confirmed date is an appearance at the Langerado Festival, which runs March 6-9 in Big Cypress, Fla.

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