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ALBUM REVIEW: Muse – The Resistance

Over the last several years, British heavyweights Muse have become arguably one of the biggest bands in the country. Yet with recent album, The Resistance, they’ve also become one of the most disappointing.

It’s certainly not through a lack of trying; it’s clear right from outset that Matt Bellamy and The Other Two, have gone all out to deliver an album bigger and bolder than anything they’ve done before. Though with a well-noted penchant for doing things differently, The Resistance gives the distinct impression of a band trying just a little bit too hard to maintain their reputation as champions of bombastic, over-the-top modern prog rock.

Uprising kicks things off in an affable fashion. As close to a pure pop song as we’ve ever heard from the band, channeling the spirit of Blondie’s Call Me into what can only be described as a kind of delirious rock ‘n’ roll ode to Europop.

Fuzzy basslines continue to bubble through Resistance, which again seems to draw influence from some long-forgotten part of the 1980s whilst remaining closer to the swooping anthems the band are known for.

By the time Undisclosed Desires rolls around, even more full of the joys of pleasant pop music than anything before, it becomes all too clear that this isn’t the same Muse we’re used to. That in itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing (though judging by the quality of the songs, it ain’t that great either) and at least it seems as though they’ve settled into a groove at this point.

Except of course, they haven’t really. Not when throw such a dramatic curveball as United States of Eurasia. If you can listen to more than a minute of this song without thinking Bohemian Rhapsody then well done you, though even taking off the Queen classic can’t save this one from really dragging the album down. Yes it’s different (and let’s face it, Muse just wouldn’t be Muse if they didn’t do something), but the problem lies in the fact that United States of Eurasia is monumentally boring.

The same must be said of Guiding Light which, despite its best efforts, comes across as the audio equivalent of watching paint dry.

As if all this wasn’t bad enough, The Resistance finally comes crashing down, crushed under the mammoth weight of its own pretensions with the three-part closing symphony, Exogenesis.

Fair play to the boys for attempting something on such a grand scale, but even on an album already without much to hold it together, Oveture, Cross-Pollination and Redemption seem enormously out of place.

If you like your albums to go from rocking the discotheque one moment to crashing out in a blaze of pompous glory the next, then you might want to give this a listen. However, when you do, you’re likely to find that in an effort to outdo their previous masterpieces, Muse have produced a disjointed, erratic excuse for an album seriously lacking in focus or direction.

Muse used to be awesome. Now they’re just awful.

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