Muse - Black Holes And Revelations

Muse are back. Sure; they never really went away, but ‘Black Holes And Revelations’ is the album which should have followed on from where ‘Origin Of Symmetry’ left off.

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Muse are back. Sure; they never really went away, but ‘Black Holes And Revelations’ is the album which should have followed on from where ‘Origin Of Symmetry’ left off. ‘Absolution’ had its moments; the poptastic ‘Time Is Running Out’ and breathy ‘Endlessly’ amongst them, but on occasion swapped mind-blowing horizons and invention for predictable pomp. This time round, there’s a reason for everything, however over the top it seems.

The rest of ‘Black Holes…’ doesn’t quite match the funk-pop delight of lead single ‘Supermassive Black Hole’, but the ideas are there: ‘Take A Bow’, the record’s opener, has the kind of dancetastic hints more often seen on a Fatboy Slim remix, while ‘Exo-Politics’ is the closest the Devon trio have come to making guitar pop in their career. Even ‘Starlight’, the track from which the album’s title is taken, makes use of handclaps.

It’s not a total diversion from the Muse we all know - ‘Knights Of Cydonia’ wears its Queen-influenced heart firmly on sleeve, and only Matt Bellamy could get away with a track titled ‘Map Of The Problematique’. Where Rachmaninov could have flinched at earlier work, this time it’s the Spaghetti Westerns getting the Muse treatment, with ‘Hoodoo’ and ‘City Of Delusion’ doing their bit for world music.

‘Black Holes And Revelations’ may garner criticism from quarters who just want a bit of rock-action style noise to their piano riffs, but it’s clear proof that Muse have matured, tamed their operatic aspirations, widened their electronic horizons, and created an impossibly huge fourth studio album in the process. Their ‘OK Computer’ moment? Don’t count it out.

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