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Album review: 'Boy'

Albums like U2's "Boy" make listening to piles of new releases well worth the time and trouble. This debut is a delight, a hypnotic album with nuance. The sound is a hybrid of disparate influences that make for an interesting meshing of Pink Floyd, Roxy Music and Television. As usual, producer Steve Lillywhite (Peter Gabriel, XTC, Buzzcocks) works wonders, skillfully fading guitar lines in and out and creating an eerie ambience. All of which is fine, for "Boy" pretends to document the loss of innocence through travel both real and imagined. Lillywhite's effects and the Edge's guitar playing heighten the drama and provide necessary links to a somewhat incoherent storyline. But "Boy" never takes on the cosmic puffery that came to signify bands like Yes and others of the progressive ilk. U2 have the musical chops, a compelling vocalist (Bono Vox) and most importantly 4-minute pop songs that sound at once concise and infectious - enough to keep them from surrendering to typical art rock indulgence. "I Will Follow" (receiving extensive FM airplay) and "Out of Control" are the standout cuts here, but there's not a loser in the bunch. Recommended without a bit of reservation.

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