AT TIMES, Cactus World News sounds enough like U2 that you may want to consider them a sort of U-Too, but it must be said that the band comes by that influence honorably. Cactus World News, after all, is a pet project of U2's Bono Hewson, and doubtless has picked up more than a few pointers from the singer.
Still, despite the similarities between the two bands, the differences are far more instructive. For instance, U2 builds off Dave (The Edge) Evans' guitar work, while, as "Urban Beaches," the band's debut album, shows, Cactus World News clearly takes its cues from Wayne Sheehy's energetic drumming.
Cactus' Fergal McAndrew, in fact, seems to make a point of not sounding like The Edge; his heavily treated guitar parts seem far more oriented to texture than to melody, which leaves singer Erin McEvey carrying most of the melody.
Surprisingly, McEvey does so without resorting to the sort of bravura effects for which Bono is known. Maybe it's the way he's able to lean into a phrase without seeming to push it; perhaps it's the songs themselves, which manage to be both allusive and instructive. By any reckoning, Cactus World News is a band well worth watching.
CACTUS WORLD NEWS -- "Urban Beaches" (MCA-5747); appearing Friday at the 9:30 Club.