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WORLD EXCLUSIVE: U2 album before the end of the year?

Hot Press talks to Paul McGuinness minutes after their Turin show.

The Hot Press Newsdesk, 07 Aug 2010

A new U2 album is potentially on the cards before the end of the year.

It is the kind of news likely to have the top dogs at Universal Music rubbing their hands in glee. And it has been confirmed to Hot Press by U2 manager Paul McGuinness.

"I hope there will be another record pretty soon," Paul told Olaf Tyaransen.

Pressed as to how soon might "pretty soon" be, the prospect of an album this side of Christmas was revealed.

"If I was being wildly optimistic, I'd say before the end of the year," he laughed.

The band have already discussed a work in progress under the working title of Songs Of Ascent, a lot of material for which had been recorded before the year's plans were disrupted by the back injury that put lead singer Bono out of action and required spinal surgery. Fans may take encouragement from the fact that U2's current touring activities will come to an end early in October – opening up the possibility that the final shaping of an album could take place over the following month.

"There’s a mixture of material available now," Paul McGuinness reveals. "Some of it’s been recorded. Some of it is called Songs Of Ascent, then there’s Spiderman material, then there’s some new stuff. I mean, Bono’s always a bit over-optimistic on these occasions, but I heard him telling an Italian journalist that he had four albums ready. That’s not quite it! But that’s what he was saying [laughs]."

A considerable batch of material was close to being finished in the Spring.

"There was a lot of very strong material already in the can earlier this year," Hot Press editor Niall Stokes confirmed. "They debuted 'Glastonbury' last night in Turin, which is a really beautiful song, and a potential single. And also 'North Star', which was performed acoustically – it is a classic U2 idea, which has fantastic resonance. And there is a lot more brilliant stuff where they came from."

Bono came through his first gig back in flying colours, further encouraging speculation that the U2 flying machine is fully back on track.

"The show went extremely well," Paul McGuinness reflected, speaking from a police motorcade immediately after the show. "It was really superb. No weakness, no mishaps physically. And I thought he sang particularly well. The production performed perfectly. It was kind of a perfect night, really."

So it's business as usual for U2?

"Yes... we're much relieved."

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