Muse - The ResistanceMonday 21 Sep 2009
Label: Warner Bos/Helium 3
Duration: 55 minutes
As with Queen, there are those who have viewed others' disinterest in Muse as bewildering or proof of some kind of psychological malaise. They will only have their belief that they are on the side of right strengthened after listening to 'The Resistance'.
Those of us more accustomed to being on the receiving end of startled looks and suspicion when we profess our disinterest in the Devon band but who take the time to go on this adventure will either sigh a "whatever" worthy of a Monday morning or have to admit that the lads have their moments.
From an opening which dredges up memories of hiding behind the couch when the 'Doctor Who' music came on the telly in the 1970s (top that, black metal bands!) to a closing three-part symphony which plays far better than it reads, 'The Resistance' is no triumph for subtlety, but at its best inspires memories of classic rock chest-beating, as well as extended sessions of gazing deeply into the album cover like it's 1975.
You want high notes that sound like Muse are trying to make a connection with small dogs the world over? Huge arrangements and riffs? Beautiful piano and a band with the stones to use Chopin's 'Nocturne...'? They're all here - on the one song, 'United States of Eurasia (Collateral Damage)'.
There's no doubt that some of us will have to be in a certain mood to stick on the 80s power ballad snare wallop and guitar soloing on 'Guiding Light'; to sit through a lyric like "Then she attacks me like a Leo when my heart is split like Rio" or to buy into the 'Dazed and Confused' bit on 'Unnatural Selection' without emailing in green text to Muse HQ and signing it 'Led Zeppelin Fan'.
But if you've a craving for big sentiment or something which reminds you of how seriously you used to take such records, satisfaction will be guaranteed.
Only on 'Undisclosed Desires', where it sounds like Muse have been commissioned to do the going-around-the-rooms music for 'MTV Cribs', do the trio come a real cropper - and perhaps the longer you listen to it the more likely you'll be to open your own wardrobe and show yourself how many pairs of shoes you have.
Muse are great players, the devotion of their fans allows them to take risks and if they do get asked to do a Bond song, then a decent job seems guaranteed. They have a lot to offer: the question for the next album is how much they should at any one time.
Muse competition winners: Brendan Cahill, Galway; Honora Egan, Dublin; Marian Flanagan, Dublin; Conor McMeel, Dublin; Rob Murphy, Dublin. Thanks to everyone who entered.
Tracklisting: Uprising - Resistance - Undisclosed Desires - United Stations of Eurasia (Collateral Damage) - Guiding Light - Unnatural Selection - MK Ultra - I Belong to You (+ Mon Coeur S'Ouvre a Ta Voix) - Exogenesis: Symphony Part 1 - (Overture) - Exogenesis: Symphony Part 2 (Cross-Pollination) - Exogenesis: Symphony Part 3 (Redemption)