U2 are working on a new album in Ireland, which they hope to finish recording this year. Frontman Bono recently described the band's new songs in the New York Times as "very visceral...very direct."
Guitarist the Edge says he's looking forward to experimenting with new guitar sounds in the studio. "My guitar playing has been fairly minimalist over the years; I like to try and make as few notes as I can get away with," he explains, adding that now he wants to "create as big an effect as I can, to really explore what guitar could be, and really push the boundaries of what guitar in a rock 'n' roll band can sound like."
For the new album, U2 have chosen producer Chris Thomas, who began his career working at EMI's Abbey Road studios with Beatles producer George Martin. Thomas played keyboards on the Beatles' White Album and mixed Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon; his other production credits include Pete Townshend's Empty Glass, the Pretenders' self-titled debut, INXS's Listen Like Thieves, Roxy Music's Stranded, the Sex Pistols' Never Mind The Bollocks, and individual tracks for Paul McCartney and Elton John.
U2's as-of-yet untitled follow-up to the Grammy-winning All That You Can't Leave Behind should be released in the first half of 2004.