Monday, 14 September 2009

Muse return to their Resistance

Here's something that has nothing to do with films, television, or even Sigur Rós. The new album from Muse, The Resistance, is a glorious piece of theatre. Their previous album, Black Holes and Revelations, was far too polite. It was like they were holding back, trying to conform with bland pop music. It was still Muse, but it was lacking. Now they've completely let go and recorded an epic and sweeping album. And it's not just because they've added an orchestra. These songs reach heights that they haven't aimed for in a long time, the structure of the songs is adventurous, Bellamy's vocals are more powerful than ever. The title track 'Resistance' is uplifting and eccentric (there aren't enough songs based on Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four in the world). 'The United States of Eurasia' is grand and dramatic, with some Queen-style vocals punching into the chorus. 'Unnatural Selection' and 'Mk Ultra' sound like a Muse we haven't heard for six years, but are still exciting. 'I Belong to You' is perhaps the highlight, at once catchy, operatic and unpredictable. And the three-part symphony 'Exogenesis' is a surpise. I was expecting a prog-rock epic. Instead it's purely classical, being ambitious and wonderfully overblown. The only disappointment is 'Undisclosed Desires', a little electronic stain that has no place in this album.

If this is all sounds a bit pretentious, that's because it is. It's uncompromising space rock. It tells of humans leaving Earth in search of a new home and totalitarian goverments keeping an eye on everything. It's like they've gone a little bit mad. But mostly, it's just some good songs.