Album: U2, No Line on the Horizon (Island)

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The Independent Culture

"Every night I have the same dream," sings Bono on the title track: "I'm hatching some plot, scheming some scheme."

It's pretty much the same dream, plot and scheme that U2 have been recycling for longer than they'd perhaps wish to be reminded, with tracks like "I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight" and "Magnificent" featuring the familiar stadium-sized yearning they perfected as far back as The Joshua Tree. Hardcore fans, then, will be satisfied with the album's confident, striding attitude, though some may feel the return of Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois as producers hasn't been as aesthetically profitable as it might have. Attempts to bring a touch more variety to the U2 sound are often relegated to the status of bolted-on preludes to standard rockers, abandoned as soon as the central riff takes over. When they play a larger part, as on the Mid-Eastern-tinged "Fez – Being Born" and "Cedars of Lebanon", the results are messily inconclusive, reaching a nadir with the excruciating "Unknown Caller": no amount of French horn or religiose organ can distract from the dreadful computer metaphors of the lyric. "Force quit and move to trash," indeed.

Pick of the album:'Magnificent', 'Moment of Surrender', 'No Line on the Horizon'