Author Topic: CD review: From the 'Horizon' comes U2's signature sound at times  (Read 1124 times)

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It would be a stretch to call U2's new music adventurous, although that notion has surfaced in some appraisals.

No Line on the Horizon — officially released stateside today after a ubiquitous build-up that includes this week's David Letterman stint — is more of a skillfully executed mashup of U2's best moments.

There's a decent amount of The Joshua Tree's ambience, balanced by dense, swirling backdrops that echo Achtung Baby. It's not all amazing, but even lesser lights shine bright enough to illuminate the band's relevance.

The first single, the already over-exposed "Get On Your Boots," is among the weaker moments. Bono's litany of pop-culture commentary ("I got a submarine, you got gasoline/ I don't wanna talk about wars between nations") unfolds above churning bass and distorted guitars. It's bombastic, but there's not much new happening amid the noise.

That song falls at the album's midpoint, when Horizon's foundation sags briefly.

"I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight" strives for depth and good humor, but the message and melody are both a bit clunky instead.

Even so, that song still comes equipped with a few nuggets of cool ear candy: The too-short, but irresistible "Baby, baby, baby, I know I'm not alone" interlude and an unexpected twist that injects an Eastern mood.

Cheers to producers Daniel Lanois, Brian Eno and Steve Lillywhite who wrap the material in an atmospheric blanket that's always warm. There are plenty of subtle touches, such as the springy electronic squiggles in the opening title track, to keep ears engaged.

That song is part of an opening salvo — with "Magnificent" and "Moment of Surrender" — that puts U2's signature sound to good use.

"The sweetest melody is the one we haven't heard," Bono sings. Maybe, but U2's familiar ones are good, too.

Jim Abbott can be reached at or 407-420-6213.