Mushroom - 2001 - 51 minutes

Self-admittedly heavily influenced by Nirvana and Radiohead, Devon trio Muse emerged on to the music scene in 1999 with their debut album 'Showbiz'. Now, two years on, comes the traditionally "difficult" second album.

Of course, a second album is only difficult if its predecessor was worthy of being placed in the "fine debut" category in the first place. 'Showbiz', for all its pretension, wasn't. Similarly, 'Origin of Symmetry' is not exactly a glorious follow-up.

Kicking off with first single 'New Born', it is instantly clear that what we have here is more of the same: a delicate piano intro which is simply certain to explode in a storm of drums and guitars framed by Matthew Bellamy's irritating vocals. Ninety seconds later this is exactly what we get. And sorry to say, but this is as good as it gets.

It is futile singling out any particular track on 'Origin of Symmetry' because they are all simply clones of each other. Emotive and angst-ridden songs can certainly have their merits, but where Muse stumble is in the indulgent guitar histrionics which ruin the bulk of this album. The 'less is more' stance is simply alien to them.

This album has echoes of Queen, Alphaville (remember them?) and, of course, the two bands that gave Muse their, well, muse. Fans of `Showbiz' will almost certainly like it, but for the rest of us, it is merely another bunch of ostentatious rock songs that simply fail to rouse or worse, sometimes even register.

Tom Grealis

Tracklisting: New Born - Bliss - Space Dementia - Hyper Music - Plug In Baby - Citizen Erased - Micro Cuts - Screenager - Dark Shines - Feeling Good - Megalomania