It was announced today that Irish superband U2’s latest studio album, Songs of Innocence, will be released through Island Records on October 13. However, for subscribers that simply cannot wait that long, and for Apple iTunes Music Store customers that may or may not be able to wait that long, the album is available today (Wednesday, September 10). For free.

Irish rock band, U2, have completed their newest album since 2009

Featuring 11 new tracks from the rock quartet, Songs of Innocence has been given to subscribers of the band’s website and has been gifted to over half a billion Apple iTunes customers worldwide - free to download if users wish.

This new offering from the band is described as U2’s most personal work to date and has been well-received by critics and reviewers on both sides of the pond.

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Britain’s Telegraph describes the album as a "big, colourful, attacking rock with fluid melodies, bright anthemic choruses and bold lyrical ideas." Giving it four stars, reviewer Nick McCormick goes on to say: "Perhaps the most surprising thing is that, despite apparently being created in a spirit of self-doubt, it sounds fresh and cohesive, bouncing out of the speakers with a youthful spring in its step."

Across in America, the Washington Post says that there is "no surprise, the surprise U2 album shines." The article goes on to describe the "playful musical adventurousness" of the album and explain that each number "is an experience from youth and young manhood" for the four Irishmen.

Songs of Innocence, only the band’s fourth album this century, looks at U2’s earliest influences from 70s rock and punk rock to 80s electronica and ambient music and the sound is refreshingly U2.

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The New York Times describes it as a "blast of discoveries, hopes, losses, fears and newfound resolve in lyrics that are openly autobiographical" with a title taken from 18th Century poet, William Blake.

Produced by Danger Mouse, along with Ryan Tedder, Declan Gaffney, Adele collaborator Paul Epworth, and long-time U2 associate Flood, this is clearly an excellent album for subscribers, Apple iTunes customers and people who fall out of those categories, who will unfortunately have to wait until October 13 to get their hands on it.

Fortunately by then, the album will be a deluxe version with acoustic sessions of certain songs and four additional tracks.