Filed under: Releases of the Week | Tags: album reviews, Black Holes and Revelations, Freddie Mercury, muse, Queen, Releases of the Week, The Resistance
PREVIEW: DOWNLOAD Muse’s “United States of Eurasia” MP3
WE GIVE IT: 12/20 Watts
With three years’ worth of buildup behind the release of their new album, The Resistance, Muse undoubtedly faced a number of questions. Would they continue to tinker with their progressive/alternative rock sound, as they had on their previous album Black Holes and Revelations? What musical directions would they pursue? And would they be able to top themselves?
On The Resistance, Muse answer all of our questions. The problem is that, more often than not, they’re not the answers we’re looking for. The album is respectable in its scope and ambition, but the band’s uneven execution of its goals ultimately leaves listeners wanting more.
That’s certainly not the case during the album’s opening stretch. The first four tracks showcase Muse successfully experimenting with a variety of new influences. After an epic, haunting buildup, the title track delivers a beautiful melody over a beat that wouldn’t sound out of place at a dance club.
At the same time, it’s hard to listen to “United States of Eurasia” and not think it sounds like Queen (even down to the Freddie Mercury-esque vocal harmonies). These tracks clearly have their sonic differences, but the band segues between them so effortlessly that you can’t help but marvel.
Oh, if only The Resistance had been a four-track EP…
From here on out, the album is very much a hit-or-miss effort, and most of the time, it misses. A number of different problems arise which prevent the album from reaching its true potential.
On “Guiding Light,” the affliction is pale self-imitation, as the band essentially rips off its own song “Invincible,” from Black Holes. But just two songs later, on “MK Ultra,” Muse serve up a song with no clear direction whatsoever, exploring everything from post-punk to hard rocking pentatonic riffs to, well…a generic form of its own sound.
But the album’s biggest disappointment comes on the closing, three-part track, “Exogenesis: Symphony.” Easily the most hyped part of the album, its mediocrity is all the more apparent. It’s not a terrible composition, and there are some excellent tidbits now and then. But in general, it’s just too bland and feels a bit forced.
To its credit, though, “Exogenesis” strikes an interesting parallel to the rest of The Resistance: it’s an acceptable effort, but Muse have clearly taken their experimentation to a level they can’t fully sustain just yet.
— Dan Kaplan