In press and media work for their new album, U2 (arguably the world's last remaining rock "super power") appear uncharacteristically relaxed and supremely confident in the validity of their latest work - and on first listen it becomes quickly obvious why. Yep, all you clamouring fans, Dublin's finest have released an astonishingly good album, one that reinstates the U2 sound with renewed vigour, straightforward clarity, and I dare say ranks up with the "pop" might of 'The Joshua Tree' and 'The Unforgettable Fire'. Apparently urged on and inspired by great "new" rock outfits such as The Hives and The Libertines, and taking 2000's somewhat return-to-form ('All That You Can't Leave Behind' with it's killer single "Beautiful Day") as a starting point, in particular its focus (once again) on the Edge and his guitar, U2 have built a supreme and muscular "anthemic" pop masterpiece. Certainly the return to guitar dominance pays dividends for this band, but Edge is not the only one working here. Bono is also in fine form, his "humanist" songs breathe with real resonance and belief, which added to the overall cinematic-pop sound of 'Dismantle', echoes that of past glories - particularly that of 'The Unforgettable Fire'. As always the rhythm section of Clayton and Mullen Jr are impeccable, while further synth and production flourishes care of Jacknife Lee add genuine depth to the desired expansive nature of the music. Highlights come thick and fast, starting with punchy first single "Vertigo", the poignant "Miracle Drug", "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own" (a beautiful tribute to Bono's recently deceased father), "Love And Peace Or Else", "City Of Blinding Lights", "All Because Of You", "A Man And A Woman", and so on - in fact there really isn't a dud here. In 'How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb', U2 have delivered a compelling and confident pop album, full of assurance and the utmost dignity, and one which will genuinely excite their many many fans. Recommended.
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