U2 - 'Get On Your Boots'
I can only imagine that if you were to look up the word 'restraint' in U2's dic...sorry, rocktionary, it would direct you to the gaps in between their songs (and possibly to Adam's fluffy handcuff collection*). It's certainly in short supply in their actual music.
Normally, this tendency to over-emphasise everything is balanced out by a song which clearly states what it is that the band are yelling about, and then allows you to make your mind up as to whether this yelling is something you would like to hear more or less of. That's the U2 way.
Sadly, having put together a LOT of yelling for their latest comeback hit, the band seem to have forgotten to bring that song along, leaving us with 3-and-a-half minutes of the musical equivalent of being repeatedly prodded for attention by a small child with very sharp nails.
(Here's the video. It's less deserty that usual.)
'Get On Your Boots' is such a bizarre construction, made of pieces which should fit together, but don't quite slot into place. There's the dirty riff, the overlong wafty psychedelic bridge, the one-note verses (one of Bono's favourite melodic tricks), the "sexy boots" disco-ish chorus and the weird icon-smoothie that passes for lyrics.
Taken all together at once, it's the kind of hotch-potch you'd get if you stuck Lego to Airfix to Meccano to smoked mackerel, using dusty Blu-Tack to jam everything into place. It may appear to be bold and original, but it falls apart as soon as you start playing with it.
Case in point: What is Mr The Edge doing immediately after the first big wafty "you don't know how beautiful you are" bit? Tuning up? Testing his delay pedal? Whatever it is...it's not very good.
The most confusing thing is that U2 are actually rather good at slinky, riffy, deviant sex-rock. Take a listen to 'Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me', and tell me it isn't a million times better than this. And it's nearly 15 years old!
And the worst of it is, you can't even suggest that they try harder next time. Over-eagerness is practically Bono's middle name!
Download: Out now
CD Released: February 16th
* Even though I made that bit up, it would not be a shock if it turned out to be true.