It’s like my brother with a new Tragically Hip release: it’s a very slow, lingering, burning process.
It’s also how a long-lasting relationship maintains its fervor and ardor long after the initial burn has faded into abeyance.
I purposefully did not review this CD right out of the gate because of the relationship I have with Muse’s music. It wouldn’t be fair to my readers or to the band to give the CD one pass and review it. With some bands, you can do that. My initial listening to Alice in Chains’ “Black Gives Way to Blue” was a one-pass. It didn’t take me any time to see the musical genius behind their most recent offering.
Matt Bellamy, Chris Wolstenholme and Dominic Howard are true musicians. Their art is not something to be appreciated in the “Oh look … here’s a lovely mountain picture hanging above my hotel bed” kind of way. If there were a Louvre for music, their music would have a wing unto itself. It’s something to be drunk slowly. Sipped, as it were. Appreciated over a long, long period of time. They don’t write music; they compose it. And they do it with such finesse and precision that it simply wouldn’t be right to review their new CD without proper time to digest it.
And no–I don’t consider the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a “Louvre.”
Having said that …
The layering on this is phenomenal. “Uprising,” the anthemic opening track, treats us to Wolstenholme’s thick, prominant bass playing and Dom’s driving drum beat. They start off the track with such energy that you can’t help but get up and move. Bellamy bounces between keyboards and guitar. I don’t know who “they” is supposed to represent–government? media? Whoever the phantom power is, they will not control us; we will be victorious. Hands down. If you don’t believe that by the end of the song, you’re not paying close enough attention.
As is so often the case with many Muse songs, the next track, “Resistance,” lulls you into a trance with some ethereal, soft keyboards, then flows effortlessly into the meat of the song with more of Dom’s bombastic drumming, Matt’s keyboarding, and Chris’ single bass lines.
I’m just blown away by the hooks on this CD. “Undisclosed Desires” has some deep, soul-shaking, bass synth on the chorus that just rocks your ears and has the capicty to turn your innie into an outie. If you don’t think so, get yourself a pair of high-end headphones and listen to this track. Mix in the plucked-strings sound that echoes throughout, layered with the rest of the keyboards and synth … whoa.
One of my favorite tracks is “Unnatural Selection.” It has this completely “Do We Really Need This/Hullabaloo feel to it musically. Lyrically, it’s pretty in-your-face, conjuring protests and rallies. “I am hungry for some unrest; let’s push it beyond a peaceful protest. I want to speak in a language that you will understand …” If you want to hear an amazing live version of this track, check out this site. Download the Admiralspalast show.
Here’s the thing with Muse. I might have said this before, and if I have, I won’t apologize because it’s absolutely true.
Muse is the new Rush. Both 3-piece bands that do more with those 3 pieces than most 5-pieces bands. Their “less is more” approach to music bears the unavoidable comparison. Most want to compare Muse to Queen, and while there is no denying the influence Freddy Mercury et al have on the band, Muse does it better with less. Sorry, Queen fans … that’s just my opinion, and you don’t have to agree with it or like it.
I won’t review each song. I’ve given you enough of a reason to get this CD. This has “stuck on a desert island” potential. Seriously. Soak in it. Drink it in slowly and deliberately. You’ll thank yourself. And me. 🙂