This year sees a quarter century of U2 records and the bands induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. However well deserved, it seems a premature designation. Such accolades are usually heaped on the formerly great, the long disbanded, or the now irrelevant. U2 shatters these notions from the first notes of the bands latest album, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.
This Atomic Bomb begins with an explosive reverberation of driving bass, slamming drums, and guitar poised for attack. "Vertigo" is the albums opener; its an aggressive beginning that compresses an LPs worth of intensity into three minutes. It might be the most compact piece of musical dynamite that U2 has yet produced.
Longtime listeners will recognize moments in "Vertigo" - The Edges uniquely keening guitar, Bonos vocal inflection - that recall their debut, Boy. There are threads of continuity here; producer Steve Lillywhite, who worked with U2 on its first three albums, is back for this one. But this isnt an exercise in nostalgia. Twenty-five years ago U2 was a baby band searching for its sound, a lead singer discovering his voice. Atomic Bomb resonates with the confidence of four men whove played music together for more than half their lives, but who have found a way to recapture a youthful energy.