Hmmm, I think I like this one a lot more than you. Overall it does feel darker and as you say more spacey than anything from his solo career, but I actually really enjoy that. You definitely hit the point correctly with the U2 comparison. A good chunk of this album reminds me of early U2, it's basically if Boy and The Unforgettable Fire fell into a blender together and I love it for that, pushing a very different sound. I'd say the highlights are Wreck Me, Ready to Explode, And the Nominees Are, Offline (for it's fantastic build up) and Save a Place. Laid I think is a little out of place. Since without it the album would both fade in and out on the Don't let your heart slip away line, and it's cheeky poppier sound runs so against the sound of the rest of the album.
As a huge fan of U2, I think it's rather telling that I don't really care for most of this album. When it's good, it's very good, but I think it definitely loses steam in the middle, and I think the mood feels so despairingly dark during the mid-section that it kind of gets monotonous. I'm listening to Boy
right now, actually, and I don't think most of the songs on Maya
are half as energetic or dynamic as this record is. When they hit an anthem, it's great, but more often, it kind of just lags for me.
Also, "Laid" is absolutely out of place, but I still enjoy it because it just feels like Butch is finally getting to have some fun.
Yeah, I really just listen to the five or six songs I like and hardly ever both with the other half.