Rameesh from Bangladesh has the following review of a classic U2 album
First of all I feel honoured to, once again, be able to contribute to your site. Already I have had two of my contributions mentioned in the letters and top guitarist debate. This time I wanted to prepare something special for you. I really don’t know how many of my monthly web page search credits I’ve used up. I’ve also had some additional research done by my friend Kareen on this; so anyway, here goes. The classic album I would like to critically review is the latest album from U2, the subliminal ‘Joshua Tree’.
U2, hailing from Manchester, England have already started to create a global cult status. Before I mention any of the tracks I would like to mention two key members of this great band, Boner and The Hedge. Boner, who I have to say, sounds like a poor mans Ian Gillan (in his heyday) still has a fine pair of lungs on him. I think this guy is one to definitely look out for. My friend, Kareen, has done extensive research on ‘The Hedge’. Apparently he used to be a treefeller and keen gardener and when it came to his music and his image, he originally decided on the moniker, ‘The Privet’. It was only after a serious discussion with the bands’ manager that a more sensible ‘The Hedge’ was agreed. ‘The Hedge’ has definitely created a unique sound and style, which I will come back to as we look at the album. If there is one word which would aptly describe why The Hedge sticks out above other guitarists, it would be avuncular
I must mention that this album was never released officially in Bangladesh. I managed to get hold of a copy downloaded via valve operated Satellite, based upon an eight-track recording played through Polymoog synthesiser. This is the way things go for us here, unfortunately.
Overall I can describe the Joshua Tree as follows; eclectic, ecliptic and intergalactic (in fact anything that ends in …tic will sum up this album).
Track 1 Where The Streets Have No Name
What I get here is a crescendo of sound and melody. The opening bars, what do I hear? Is it the Baroque or is it country and western? I just cannot put my finger on it. Adam Clayton holds everything together. Boner, wailing away, and The Hedge strumming majestically. What an incredible opening track
Track 2 I still haven’t found what I’m looking for
A very poor track. Without doubt, just an album filler. This track will make no contribution to the success of this album whatsoever. Enough said
Track 3 With Or Without You
A slow introduction, but quickly builds up to an ejaculation of magnificence. This one, eventually, had me on my feet. Great playing from The Hedge. Boner, groaning about this and that (probably poverty in Bangladesh, no doubt). Later in the track The Hedge spirals into free-form guitar hell (well a second rate Ritchie Blackmore hell), while Boner half speaks, half chants the song’s title
Track 4 Bullet The Blue Sky
At last, a slow moving number. You can feel the emotion in the lyrics. Boner, moaning about not being able to get enough (or something like that). This is what I call eclectic (or even ecliptic). A very moving guitar piece, descending scales in a diminishing 5th; outstanding. Is the Hedge playing not just on the tonic? It is hard for me to tell, but without a doubt he moves away from 5th’s just as the solo reaches a climax
Track 5 Running To Stand Still
This track to me has a real Cajun feel. The rhythm section here goes absolutely crazy. The title implies a train journey somewhere, maybe referring to the leisurely railway trips the band used to undertake around Manchester. Boner literally screaming the title, and The Hedge, plays with emotion, feel and taste This song is literally close to the edge (not The Hedge). For a moment you feel it will disappoint but then it pulls itself together. The fade out leaves you wanting more. I would definitely love to see this live
Track 6 Red Hill Mining Town
A reference no doubt to the dark Satanic Mills of Lancashire (or perhaps the coal mines of the England). The Hedge is definitely up for this one, pushing the song right from the start. The repetitive riff in G is without doubt, very catchy. I found myself hummimg along to this, many days after playing it. The solo, which I think includes Bach arpeggios in sixteenths, is to me the finest on the album
Track 7 In God's Country
This is the bands’ anthem. If one song will follow U2 to eternity it will be this. I can just imagine the huge crowd, hands in the air, cigarette lighters burning away, cheering along. If, I still haven’t found what I’m looking for is the Wife, then this track is the Mistress (or maybe the sister)! I’m not sure why they have done this in A; I think it would sound better in a block cord riff of G, in which The Hedge seems to excel.
Track 8 Trip Through Your Wires
The melody sounds familiar. I cannot put my finger on it, but there is a definite Led Zeppelin feel to the track. Powerful drumming, ripping guitar, living on the edge vocals. Wow, this track is going somewhere. The Hedge at some points seems to get lost in the mix, but maybe this is more to do with my download copy (illegal!) from an old 8 track cassette, which I tried to digitally re-master (in vain, I hasten to add).
Track 9 One Tree Hill
A thunderous introduction from the drummer, which after a couple of syncopated high hat beats, blasts into a majestic onslaught of sheer brilliance. I swear that at some point I can hear an orchestra playing, Boner singing about something rising. The extended guitar solo from The Hegde takes guitar playing to another level. He seems to run the entire gauntlet of emotions, all along keeping everything loose, but tight at the same time. Simply superb!
Track 10 Exit
Not quite exit. A powerful beat, so powerful in fact you think how can they all keep going. Someone will have a heart attack any second at this rate. Boner singing about coming home and is it black and white (I think). This track lasts for a full nine minutes. It literally took my breath away.
Track 11 Mothers Of The Disappeared
I hear here a reference to Frank Zappa. Something in the lyrics about a hotel and a fire.
A solid riff from The Hedge, again in the key of G. This track seems to have a lot of ‘bottom’ to it, if you know what I mean. It’s not an all out rocker, but the riff is incessant; but interestingly it doesn’t bore you. The chorus referring to fire and sky. This track is definitely interesting. I wonder if it will be played live?