U2 No Line On The Horizon
Has U2's new album brought peace to the Middle East? They seemed to believe it would. Who craes when you can pour over sleeve photos of ageless rough trade drummer Larry Mullen? The croaky atomic bomb that is first single Get On Your Boots did them no favors. Why offer rat-a-tat-tat grunge when we need sweeping grandeur? U2 may try too hard (Moment Of Surrender) or smoke too much hookah (Fez), but a shaft of heavenly light still shines over White As Snow and I’ll Go Crazy.*
Depeche Mode Sounds Of The Universe
I had the SOTU boxset edition in my hot hands the day this album was released. It is thrilling, with multiple discs, documentaries, 2 books, 2 BUTTONS, etc. A true music geek experience. I just wish I liked the album more. In Sympathy and Perfect are great pop radio tunes, and Wrong, which seemed such an odd single choice, actually sounds better in the context of the album. It’s nihilistic for sure, but the lyrics are sharp and Martin Gore’s wailing near the end is sublime. Only Peace comes close to what I wanted from the band that lifted my soul with Never Let Me Down Again and Enjoy The Silence.
Morrissey Years Of Refusal
It's diminishing returns for Morrissey since 2004’s perfect You Are The Quarry. Refusal has a paltry portion of stand outs: the Your Arsenal-esque Black Cloud and recent single Throwing My Arms Around Paris among them. It’s Not Your Birthday Anymore, which has a spine tingling vocal performance, is absolutely perfect. What went wrong with the rest? Lack of tunes (two have been released before) and very slight inspiration. If I have to hear the painful chorus to Someone Is Squeezing My Skull one more time, I will stick my head in a vise.
*Fans should note that the Paris b-sides Because Of My Poor Education and Shame Is The Name are better than 75% of the album tracks.**Review published in the April issue of Instinct Magazine