Despite bold promises of a departure in direction, the 12th U2 studio album does a mean average of the rest of the dozen. It was recorded in Fès, Morocco (the rumoured North African influences are inaudible), and its generic homogeneity was assured by a too-many-cooks team of Daniel Lanois, Steve Lillywhite and Brian Eno, with a downloadable Anton Corbijn film thrown in to complete the set. 'No Line on the Horizon' is made with the stadium masses in mind. Tracks such as "Magnificent" and "Fez – Being Born" could have come straight out of 'The Joshua Tree'. Elsewhere, Bono does shameless impressions of Dylan ("Get On Your Boots"), Reed ("Cedars of Lebanon") and Springsteen ("Breathe"). The lyrics include familiar tics, such as the open-throated refrain ("Only love, only love can leave such a mark...") and the ponderous metaphor ("this dry ground it bears no fruit at all..."). For all its glaring faults, 'No Line on the Horizon' sounds big, expensive and important. For U2's core constituency, that will be enough.
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