How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb

U2

I have never reviewed a U2 album for the single reason that I've been adverse to categorize them within what I consider Vintage Rock. Obviously, after almost 25 years of unparalleled triumph, they most certainly qualify as a "vintage rock" band that ranks alongside the likes of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and The Who – the big five – so what the hell. And perhaps even more so with How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb.

In constant competition with a catalog that includes The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby, it appears the members of U2 have stopped looking over their shoulder for confirmation and embraced a harder edged, somewhat slick production balanced by a rich layer of social consciousness borrowed from their earlier records. By the same token, How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb – produced by Steve Lilywhite, who helmed the controls on the band's earliest efforts – is similar to 2000's All That You Can't Leave Behind in its delivery: arching into an epic stance as it blasts off with the hook-filled, iPod-selling "Vertigo" and scatters into a million directions, guided by Bono’s ever-infectious lyrics and The Edge’s punchy power chords.

Tracks like “Miracle Drug,” “Love And Peace And Else,” “All Because Of You,” and “Crumbs From Your Table” all build on sobering, monumental cadences, licking at a firm underbelly while Bono sings about third world debt, human symmetry and the price of freedom. Elsewhere, “City Of Blinding Light,” “One Step Closer” and “Original Of The Species” open up a floodgate of emotions and inquisitions that only a band like U2 can muster.

~ Shawn Perry

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