What a wise move to give the album away on itunes. It’s the only reason why I am listening to it, right now. The last time U2 were relevant to me was 2000, when then released “All that you can leave behind”. It had a combination of melodic acoustic numbers and pop-rock, a genre that U2 has become associated with in recent years.
I was curious when I read on the web that they were giving it way for free, just like Radiohead had done with In Rainbows in 2007. The album doesn’t push the musical boundaries, however it makes for pleasant listening. U2, like any band that has lasted the pace, are students of popular music and culture. Thus they have borrowed rocky riffs from the Black Keys, pleasantness from Coldplay and production from themselves.
“Every breaking wave” borrows from past U2 glories, whilst Volcano probably translates best to a 2014 audience. My favourite is “Raised by Wolves”, showing that U2 can still produce something that sounds exciting and different.
Overall, I’d give it a solid 7/10.