Album Review Muse - The Resistance

There are moments where everything the band has done to date comes into perfect focus.

There are moments, scattered like fairy dust throughout ‘The Resistance’, Muse’s fifth studio album, where everything the band has done to date comes into perfect focus. The point where the runaway train on the mainstream bothering title cut suddenly comes to a halt in a cavern full of ‘Bellamy Space Sounds #43’. Where realisation hits that ‘Undisclosed Desires’ isn’t a cynical swipe at grabbing some of those pop pounds, but actually something that rivals ‘Supermassive Black Hole’ for genre bending. When the fact that the riff to ‘Unnatural Selection’ is essentially a pretty close cousin to that of ‘New Born’ ceases to be an issue. There’s no doubt that this is the product of a band with a vision few can really understand; the only question is if those not feverishly devoted to the cause can live with a record quite this diverse and, more importantly, deliberately huge.

‘The Resistance’ is a very different album to, say, ‘Origin Of Symmetry’. The constant evolution between records has put light years between this and what many may be seen as the Devon trio’s defining work to date. Anyone yearning for the same goosebumps that heralded ‘Citizen Erased’ back in the day should give up now, but then no band can stand still for the better part of a decade. Especially one who seem set on their own one gang space race.

Certainly, things seem less cohesive than one might expect. Four tracks at the business end of the record, including single ‘Uprising’ and early taster ‘United States Of Eurasia’, are quite blatantly mad in the kind of way that would quite like to sell a few records, thanks very much. ‘Guiding Light’, which follows immediately after, seems anthemic in the same way Ultravox may have been to the parents of your average Muse fan. Then comes a one two of fast pace riff merchants, the latter - ‘MK Ultra’ - throwing around string sections like an Ambassador’s dinner party short of a Ferrero Rocher or two. ‘I Belong To You’ on the other hand is more like some pseudo show tune; the kind of thing you’d imagine Elton John listens to before a night out. Slammed right before the three part symphony of ‘Exogenesis’ it’s somewhat jarring, to say the least.

Yet with time, things start to fall into place. Yes, ‘The Resistance’ does jump around the genre base so much anyone not committed may start to feel more than a little bit travel sick, but then this is a band who attempt to mix modern pop with overblown prog. Living within the realms of Classic Rock and R&B within the same track, there’s no doubt that this is an indulgent listen. Not all of it works, and no single track is without it’s faults, but it’s a Muse record. If it didn’t split opinion, that would be a shock.

 

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