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Album Review
The Resistance

The Resistance
by Muse


Review Date
16th December 2009
Reviewed by
Hayley Koorts

For want of a better adjective to explain the sound of their latest album, drummer Dominic Howard describes their fifth studio effort, The Resistance, as being “very Muse-like”... Said by any other of the many cocky, self-obsessed ‘artistes’ in the music industry, such a statement would strike me as outright presumptuous. But having bought my first Muse CD at age fifteen – and not regretted the purchase since – I’m the last person to deny the existence of a bona fide “Muse” sound.

Heavily symphonic instrumentation, eerie undertones, a cappella vocals and lyrics concerned with the state of the human race; these are the elements that the three Devon natives have crafted to create their trademark. “The Resistance” marks that quintessential moment that all successful musicians hope to reach: the album that defines and establishes their unique musical philosophy. I truly believe that it stands a chance as being remembered as “the” Muse album; the one that best represents the sound cultivated over their last four studio albums, as well as the album that you’ll be most likely to recommend to any miserable sod that has thus far lived without any exposure to the greatness of Muse. More upbeat and with less gloom and doom than their previous work, it nevertheless retains the theatrical and introspective essence of the band.

By pushing play on this record, you are simultaneously boarding an intergalactic flight through a universe of high-voltage emotion. With the aid of Freddy Kruger’s poltergeist, lead singer Matthew Bellamy reaches operatic heights during such numbers as United States of Eurasia. This is perhaps the most topical track of them all, alluding to the USA’s prevention of peace between Europe and the East, channelling George Orwell’s novel “1984” and criticizing the current political climate. Bellamy certainly has a few things to say about his own government (“The parliamentary system is really shit and the prime minister’s a twat”). As is typical, Muse rarely cower in the face of global conspiracies – in fact they tend to be drawn to them. Together with big brothers Radiohead, they have pioneered the genre of “intellectual rock”, which created a counterculture in Britain amidst the height of superficial (in comparison) frat rock in America (Blink 182, Weezer, etc....).

There is an impulsiveness ridden throughout the album, which can most likely be boiled down to the trio’s best attempts to avoid spending too much time to-ing and fro-ing over miniscule details. As Bellamy divulges, when in doubt, there’s always a trusty coin to flip. “[I was saying to myself:] You don’t need to think about things too much,” he elaborates. “There is luck out there...and you cannot control it, you just have to go with it.” I cannot fault the boys’ intuition; according to the end result I’d say it’s spot on. I can only suggest that someone tell Mr. Bellamy that it’s no longer 1999, and therefore those sunglasses from The Matrix are also no longer acceptable...

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