Muse - 'The 2nd Law' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 28, 2013    
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Progressive Rock for the masses.

It’s ironic that just as Muse become gargantuan enough to basically do what they want, sound like they want and play what they want, their sixth album ‘The 2nd Law’ is actually more blatantly like one certain band than ever before. Matt and the boys have always had a big Queen fixation, but as success has brought the freedom to be ridiculously big and bold, so the grandeur seems to inexorably veer towards the excess of Mercury, May, Taylor and Deacon.

‘Supremacy’ kicks us off in exactly the manner this track had originally been intended for, with the strings and counterpoint between floating, dreamy sections and stomping bombastic outbursts marking this track the best James Bond theme tune that never was. ‘Madness’ ensues after that, with the lead single proving that familiarity breeds, well acceptance actually. The ultra-dancey themes and thump and clunk beats were initially enough to have Muse-ites uprising up in anger, but with multiple listens the stunning and surprisingly restrained vocal from Matt Bellamy prove irresistible, while his Brian May (did I hear anyone say Queen?) like solo is a sure-fire winner. Moving away from the Queen theme comes the ‘Another One Bites The Dust’ (doh! that’s by Queen as well....) bass line rip off of ‘Panic Station’, which unfortunately slides into a Scissor Sister pile of nonsense that we could all well do without. Although more in line of what we need is ‘Survival’, where the slow build, falsetto vocals and beautiful “ahh-ahh-ahhha-aaaaahhhhhing” back-up is strongly reminiscent of a band I can’t quite place, but who might have recorded a minor hit called ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. Whereas ‘Follow Me’ is one of those amalgamations of dance, prog, rock and pop that could only be Muse and it’s all the better for being so.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Genuinely side-stepping Queen domination for a track or four, one of this band’s understated strengths has always been the wonderful backing vocals from bassist Chris Wolstenholme, so it’s an absolute pleasure to hear him step up to sing lead on the, introspective, beautiful ‘Save Me’, proving his is a voice that deserves to be heard much more in the future. ‘Big Freeze’ swoops back into the sound Muse created on their ‘Black Holes And Revelations’ album, although the pleasant jingle jangle of guitar has an undoubted U2 vibe to it. The closing double piece of ‘Unsustainable’ and ‘Isolated System’ take the dance themes from earlier and add ambient and dub-step to the mix. It shouldn’t work, but in truth becomes the album’s crowning glory.

Muse need to be congratulated on having the ability to take what is in essence progressive rock and selling it to the masses. They may be relying more and more on their old vinyl collection for inspiration, but who can argue that they don’t do it exceedingly well? Not me anyway and certainly not ‘The 2nd Law’.

Steven Reid

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