U-2 is like a lot of other groups. Their music has the hard edge of new wave, like other groups'. They rely heavily on electronics and their melodicism derives primarily from the '60s British sound, like other groups'.
Forget the other groups. Remember U-2.
The Dublin-based group appeared last night at the Bayou and this city's perception of new wave may never be the same. Tearing away at the crowd with searing guitar solos and jittery, electronically echoed vocals, U-2 also brought to their performance a sense of refinement that has been lacking in rock for some time.
The musicians have smoothed out the rough edges of punk while not relinquishing any of that style's punch and verve. Cool harmonies, subtle dynamic touches and intricate, almost dissonant melodies combined to produce a sound that was at once enlightening and exciting.
"Stories for Boys" was a compositional tour de force, with haunting minor-key chords and moody lyrics that were contrasted by pounding beats and a throbbing bass line.
U-2, like the Police and the Clash, are taking new wave to the next, higher, musical level. Their music is still simple, but never simplistic -- and simply marvelous.