The new deluxe edition of U2’s 1984 album ‘The Unforgettable Fire’ contains two songs from the original sessions which didn’t make the cut, ‘Disappearing Act’ and ‘Yoshini Blossom’.
And they’re good – sparse and expansive-sounding in the way that U2 used to be so brilliant at. Compare and contrast with the gallumphing, unsubtle likes of ‘Magnificent’ and ‘Get On Your Boots’.
It’s a shame, then, that Bono has decided to re-record the vocals on ‘Disappearing Act’. I’d have loved to hear the track with his mid-80s voice, back when it was piercing and youthful. Instead we’ve got noughties Bono crooning all over it – it’s a deeper, gruffer, and less likeable sound.
Plus, the track is smothered in the kind of lush, layered backing vocals the ’80s U2 would’ve balked at.
Still, ‘Yoshini Blossom’ has seemingly been left untouched – it’s an instrumental, anyway – and it’s great, all urgent and chiming, like ‘New Year’s Day’ without the vocals, a reminder of a time when U2 were able to achieve an amazing sense of scale with a startling economy of means.