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Muse - Black Holes And Revelations CD (album) cover




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3.70 | 493 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Also available as ring tones

Muse's most recent album (at time of writing) finds them developing their style and sound, and reaching a significant stage in their maturity. From a prog perspective, this comes at a cost, and that cost is a distinct move towards the commercial sound of bands such as KEENE and the MANIC STREET PREACHERS, while acquiring the more mainstream aspects of RADIOHEAD.

With that proviso in mind, what MUSE have come up with here is thoroughly enjoyable. The opening "Take a bow" is a writhing, building opener, which whets the appetite for the album nicely. The following "Starlight" is an obvious attempt at securing at least one hit single from this album, the strong melody and pleasant vocals betraying pop at its finest. "Map of the problematique" follows a similar path.

"Supermassive black hole" drifts dangerously close to PRINCE territory, complete with high pitched vocals and a heavy, funky beat.

The brief "Soldier's poem" is a delicate soft ballad with lead vocals which sound more like Thom Yorke than Thom Yorke does, combined with some Freddie Mercury inspired harmonies. This is repeated on the equally aching "Hoodoo", prior to the introduction of theatrical piano surges and dramatic orchestration.

"Invincible" opens with some FLOYDIAN floating guitar backed by a gentle marching beat. The vocal performance here is supreme, the song building climactically and irresistibly. I have a feeling this one will be a regular on the airwaves. "City of illusion" is the most heavily produced track, with swirling orchestration and solo trumpet, the over all sound emphasising the similarities with the MANICs.

The album closes with "Knights of Cydonia", a retro laden burst of driving rock with URIAH HEEP overtones, especially in the harmonic interruptions.

Being honest, this is not a progressive rock album. Indeed, there is little here to offer any sort of listening challenge at all. This is mature pop rock, professionally composed and performed, but always with an eye on chart success. If your tastes extend to such music, there is much for you to enjoy here.

Footnote, it is a significant that the album insert includes details on how to obtain ring tones of the tracks for your mobile phone. Can you envisage the Flower Kings for example including such an offer any time soon?

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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