Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Album Review : The Resistance - Muse****



Muse are well on their way to becoming a national musical treasure in the style of Queen or Marillion, keenly forging their own musical path, slightly bonkers, misunderstood by America and quite gloriously over the top.

The Resistance can pretty much be split into two parts, the first 8 tracks, referred to by Matt Bellamy as 'the singles' follow the traditional Muse route, innovative drum rhythms, alternating soft keyboards and thundering guitars and some radio friendly pop prog all accompanied by Bellamy's trademark vocal style and paranoid, conspiracy theory lyrics. The latter part of the album is a three part prog and classical music symphony.

The opening single Uprising has a familiar feel, easy going chant-a-long power pop with the sort of non-specific lyrical touch that you can read your own meanings into as "They will not control us, they will stop degrading us" washes across you. A slew of similar pieces of pop rock follow, many sounding an echo of something else you might already be familiar with, are Bellamy and company playing some sort of musical game here ? I wouldn't put it past them. From the distinct echo of the Dr. Who theme on Uprising, shades of Queen on United States Of Eurasia and Guiding Light with the drum beat from Ultravox's Vienna and its U2/Queen like stylings, many of the songs on The Resistance seem to exhibit an influence which Muse then twist into their own musical pattern.

Throughout the 'singles' part of the album there are some good tracks, although very few seem to really reach the musical heights displayed on the band's last release 'Black Holes And Revelations'.

Where Muse really show off on this album though is the outstanding 3 part symphony that ends the album. Lyrically this seems to revolve around the idea that humanity evolved somewhere away from Earth and was then transplanted here, but don't worry about that, turn up the volume and let the magnificence of Exogenesis sweep you up. Part one, Overture, opens gently then builds with the string section swelling into a repetitive refrain that has another musical echo nagging at me (Adagio from Spartacus by Khachaturian perhaps ?), then Bellamy adds his falsetto vocals to the mix, you can't really define a word he sings on this piece, but it is beautiful. Part 2 (Cross Pollination) and 3 (Redemption) are piano based with definite shades of Chopin, but then Bellamy does sit awake at 4am in his Italian villa channeling the spirits of dead composers, where would we be without barking mad rock stars.

The Resistance is overall a good album, parts of it are truly great and show what a talented group of musicians can do when unconcerned with passing musical fads, other parts of it though are a little weaker and seem a tad formulaic, almost as if they exhausted their creativity on the Symphony.

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