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Muse - Survival

By the time the medal ceremonies are over, more than one athlete is going to be wondering if they’re going to have a problem with the drugs testers.

Muse have never been shy wallflowers: their first album didn’t hide from bombast, by the second they were penning seven-minute epics, and of late they’ve been more than a contender for the crown of ‘battiest band’. Still, all of that feels like no fair warning for ‘Survival’.

When thought about, really, there is no other band who could soundtrack the London Olympics. Nobody else is able to take ludicrous pomposity as a compliment. Muse don’t need to worry about being overawed by the occasion - they almost certainly believe their next key territory to conquer is Mars. They were born for this kind of thing; if the rest of us are ready for it remains another thing entirely.

The opening minute or so of orchestral loveliness is nothing short of a con. ‘This sounds lovely,’ someone’s gran will no doubt say, before being flattened by a guitar solo straight out of Alpha Centauri. Soaring strings - typical of Muse’s classical leanings - are soon replaced by something straight from the Scissor Sisters’ big book of piano hooks. That doesn’t last long either; before long ‘Survival’ is chanting and caterwauling its way into oblivion in the way only Muse can - leaving the rest of us slack jawed and utterly baffled.

Lyrically, Bellamy is certainly aware he’s writing an Olympic anthem. ‘It’s a race / And I’m gonna win’, he exclaims, proving himself the definitive Seb Coe of pop. The Queen references will come thick and fast, as ever, but there’s more to this than a simple homage to the definitive kings of pop operatics. The riffs are definitively Muse, the rest almost certainly includes more than one kitchen sink. By the time the medal ceremonies are over, more than one athlete is going to be wondering if they’re going to have a problem with the drugs testers.

Tags: Muse, Reviews

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