The Resistance

Written by: AP on 05/11/2009 23:54:48

Matthew Bellamy takes pride in functioning as one of the most celebrated contemporary musicians, like a slightly less eccentric Mike Patton. His brainchild, Muse, is a band best known for unadulterated exaggeration, overindulgences, and, above all, their colossal level of ambition. Mr. Bellamy's genius is hard to dispute - as is his startling megalomania, which lead the three-piece to triumph at the mammoth Wembley Stadium showdown (available in full as a DVD outing titled "Haarp") and now the mind-boggling, transcendental crossover album "The Resistance", which features some of the most brilliantly preposterous material the band has written to date, including the cyber-opus "Knights of Cydonia" off the previous record.

"The Resistance" is a true, modern rock opera, reciting the love story in George Orwell's classic novel, "1984", although the literary allusion is likely to be the least of your concerns when the astounding disco anthem "Uprising" trods in like something born out of a Marilyn Manson and Billy Idol orgy. Muse's fifth studio album breaks all the rules for mainstream music, ignoring conventional song lengths and packing half-a-dozen musical styles into one song, and finds the band in brave new territory. One of the most striking examples of going AWOL from the expected comes with "Undisclosed Desires", which feels like a rhythm n' blues number fresh off the charts courtesy of Justin Timberlake. Sound far-fetched? That's because it is. But for every song that leaves you asking "is this really Muse?", there's another that retracts the embellishments and takes us back to familiar terrain - just with added gusto. "Unnatural Selection", for example, recalls Muse at their absolute heaviest, "Stockholm Syndrome" style, and "MK Ultra" retraces the footsteps of the radio-friendly "Black Holes and Revelations" album, whilst never sacrificing the band's new found audacity.

Clearly, Mr. Bellamy has allowed himself to indulge in all of his musical fantasies, and the resulting opus is nothing short of spectacular. If you have had the pleasure of watching Queen's London musical "We Will Rock You", you will hear a similar grandiosity in songs like "United States of Eurasia", "I Belong to You", and the absolutely fantastic "Resistance". There is a distinct echo of "Bohemian Rhapsody" to these songs, and it makes you wonder whether or not Muse couldn't pull of a successful Broadway musical of their own with this stuff. The deliberate classical references dotted throughout the album converge in an astonishing finale - a three-part symphony you just know Bellamy has been itching to attempt. It's the kind of full-on orchestral experience that Metallica's "S&M" album was with an analogous sense of drama, and truth be told, a little too preposterous for this scribe to swallow despite its obvious brilliance.

On the other hand, Muse is a band that prides itself on extravaganza. And with "The Resistance", the band have succeeded in creating a piece of music so preposterous it borders on genius. Uninhibited and unapologetic, the prodigal excesses of this album are what make it such a completely satisfying and grand experience. It is the band's assertion that Muse conforms to nothing and to no one, and where other bands hesitate in the face of absurdity, they charge at it head-on and create from it unimaginably beautiful compositions that you just know will transform a stadium performance to an ethereal, psychedelic, out-of-body experience.


Download: Uprising, Resistance, Undisclosed Desires, Unnatural Selection

For the fans of: Coldplay, Placebo, Queen, Radiohead

Listen: Myspace

Release date 14.09.2009

Helium 3

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