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U2 - How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb


Review: Jack Foley

HAVE U2 ever made a bad album? It's a valid question, given the high level of quality that always seems synonymous with the band.

Ever since the early days of The Joshua Tree and Rattle and Hum, Bono and co seem to have delighted in re-inventing themselves while always remaining at the cutting edge of rock.

And while some albums haven't performed as commercially well as others (Pop, for instance), there's no denying that most, if not all, U2 albums have something special about them.

Their latest effort, How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, is a classic case in point - a carefully constructed, awe-inspiring and quite brilliant collection of songs that simply serves to enhance their reputation as rock icons.

Take the brilliant first single, and opening track, Vertigo, with its infectious rock-pop melodies, soaring Bono vocals and unmistakeable guitar riffs from The Edge.

It became an instant classic and shot to number one - a feat not managed by most big bands in this Pop Idol fixated day and age.

The track sounded fun and contemporary, while also recalling some of their earlier work, circa Joshua Tree.

Perhaps it's due to the returning presence of producer, Steve Lillywhite, but there is definitely something very retro about the new album, as well as forward-looking.

City of Blinding Lights, for instance, an uplifting ode to London, contains a guitar hook that conjures playful memories of I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, while even Vertigo contains the same sort of fun vibe as Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me.

Yet both manage to maintain their own identity, sounding fresh and exciting to boot.

Elsewhere, the gorgeous Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own, epitomises U2's ability to write a telling ballad, without ever resorting to cheap sentimentality, or wretched yearning.

It is a track with the same sort of emotional resonance as One (it was written about Bono's late father), featuring some truly moving guitar riffs from The Edge and Bono's vocals at their tenderest.

Politics get a look-in on the angry, blues-laden Love and Peace or Else, which also talks about a stormy relationship, while good old-fashioned rock 'n' roll gets a workout in All Because Of You, a genuinely feelgood track.

A Man And A Woman, with its cracking chorus and affecting guitar riffs, is another heartfelt moment featuring some delicious vocal highs from Bono, while those delightful Edge guitars run rife throughout Crumbs From Your Table, forcing you to nod along in apprecation from the outset.

Indeed, this album, more than any other in recent U2 memory, allows The Edge to work his magic and he contributes some spine-tingling moments.

Strong, too, is the slow-building Original of the Species, which brings some keyboards and pianos to the fore (courtesy of Jacknife Lee), and the rousing final track, Fast Cars, which ends the album on as big a high as it begins.

In short, How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb is another explosive effort to rate among the finest U2 albums of old. It is absolutely unmissable and a surefire contender for one of the albums of the year. We love it!

 

Track listing:
1. Vertigo
2. Miracle Drug
3. Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
4. Love And Peace Or Else
5. City Of Blinding Lights
6. All Because Of You
7. A Man And A Woman
8. Crumbs From Your Table
9. One Step Closer
10. Original Of The Species
11. Yahweh
12. Fast Cars

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