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Muse - Showbiz CD (album) cover




Prog Related

3.13 | 257 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars MUSE is a controversial addition to ProgArchives though I'm not sure why. Their assigned category is prog-related, which means they are not considered progressive. They blend progressive elements with mainstream music. I, for one, are glad the band is here.

Their debut album is astonishingly mature for such a young band. Assured debuts usually come from bands that have been formed from the ashes of other bands, such as LED ZEPPELIN's or THE MARS VOLTA's initial offerings. While 'Showbiz' is clearly not in that category, it is very strong. Disappointingly, however, the album is 'front-loaded: much of the best music comes at the beginning with 'Sunburn', 'Muscle Museum', 'Cave' and 'Showbiz'. Many of the other tracks are either filler or failed experiments as this band tries to find its voice.

And I mean this literally. MUSE is a vehicle for MATTHEW BELLAMY, specifically his raw, angst-laden voice and his dexterous rhythm guitar. On this album they fiddle with a variety of styles, working through a repertoire of rockers and ballads. They will not settle on their sound until their next album. Of note is the relative absence of lead guitar, and I speculate that the high-pitched sound of BELLAMY's voice fills that gap.

Their sound is energetic without the utterly delightful bombast of their subsequent albums. As other reviewers have remarked, it is easy to forget this band is a three-piece. At times the power they exhibit is not sensibly applied, with roaring riffs dissipating into mediocrity, a bit like a mini with a 500 hp engine, all grunt and wheelspin but not much forward momentum. An uneven album is the result. The lyrics are concerned with pop territory - personal relationships - but are very assertive and mature. If this album were MUSE's sole output I doubt they would feature here; however, it is an admirable beginning, if not essential. Perhaps two stars is a little harsh for such a positive review, but their albums get better each time, so I have to start low. Don't start your exploration of this band here.

russellk | 2/5 |


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