Album Review: Muse – The Resistance

By on Tuesday, 22nd September 2009 at 12:00 pm

Muse (The Resistance cover)In 2006, ‘Black Holes and Revelations’ propelled Devon-trio Muse into a whirlwind of popularity which was ultimately topped off by two monstrous sold-out nights at the then newly-opened Wembley Stadium. TGTF were present at these awesome gigs, and it was clear to all the challenge ‘Black Holes’ left the band facing when it came to making their fifth record.

Three years on and our favourite geeky prog rockers are back with ‘The Resistance’. It scored number one this Sunday.

Looks like they took that challenge with a pinch of salt.

The album kicks off with the fantastic glam-stomper, ‘Uprising’. Space-age synths echoing Doctor Who’s tardis on helium open up the track, as Dom Howard strikes down enthusiastically on those bulky drums. The lyrics of the song are particularly intriguing – suggesting how politically driven the album is going to be. Amid the chorus, Bellamy enthusiastically chants how “they will not force us, they will stop degrading us, they will not control us” – ‘they’ perhaps referring to those “fatcats” in need of a “heart attack”. Matt’s back to his best guitar-wise as full-blown crunky riffs add to the passion of the song, which is desperately crying out for a stadium worthy sing-along.

Indeed, stomping glam-rock has had a clear influence throughout the whole of ‘The Resistance’. The highly dramatic ‘United States of Eurasia’ takes a few tips from Queen’s book with the sudden launch of electric riffs and simultaneous harmonies. Egyptian-stylee instrumentation adds an excitingly exotic feel to the track, while Matt’s falsetto vocals are truly at their best here. Lyrically, the political rebellion theme is continued, with Bellamy asking “must we do as we’re told?”. The gleaming ‘Guilding Light’s’ percussion, meanwhile, is typically power-ballad (*cough* think Cadbury adverts), and an aptly Brian May-esque guitar solo features around midway.

Muse (side)Track two ‘Resistance’ may be an incredibly catchy number, yet it doesn’t provide much space for musical development and would quite happily fit on ‘BHAR’ (the speeding drums and dreamy piano is very ‘Map of the Problematique’). Additionally, ‘Unnatural Selection’s’ punk-come-metal riffs may fly spectacularly at the listener like daggers, but the sound is noticably-nostalgic Muse and not all that innovative. The average ‘MK Ultra’ is similarly not very noteworthy aside from the killer guitar which screams out about the track.

However, excitement is returned to the record with ‘I Belong To You’. The track is infectiously groovy thanks to it’s slick, tap-tap-tap Elton piano. Matt’s vibrato voice perfectly recites the sickly sweet lyrics (“I’ve travelled half the world to say, I belong to you”), before he tumbles all the more dreamily into ‘Mon cœur s’ouvre à ta voix’, an elegant dalliance with the romantic French language and some glamorous orchestral strings to match.

Muse being Muse however, must end the album in a fabulously O.T.T fashion, this time choosing to close ‘The Resistance’ on a three part symphony titled ‘Exogenesis’. The 13 minute piece has been several years in the making. Highly orchestral strings open up the first movement subtitled ‘Overture’, before Matt slowly creeps in with his spine-tingling, yet unfathomably high vocals. Monstrous guitars crunch around in the background, adding a sense of hysteria to the song which is aptly about humans evacuating a destructive Earth in order to find an alternative, more peaceful planet. ‘Exogenesis’ continues with ‘Cross-Pollination’, a romantic, piano-led piece which ultimately explodes into a fire of cinematic noise. Finally, the symphony comes to a close with ‘Redemption’, a heart breaking number led by fragile, weeping violins. The song ultimately rises up from the inital dark, atmospheric grave however, as Matt thought-provokingly cries out “Let’s start over again….This time we’ll get it right…It’s our last chance to forgive ourselves”.

Ludicrously dramatic.

Bloody genius.

Muse‘s new album, The Resistance, is available now from Amazon, iTunes and all good retailers.

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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