Remember Irvine Welsh’s ‘Trainspotting’?
SICK BOY: Well, at one time, you’ve got it, and then you lose it, and it’s gone forever…
I don’t mean to be dismissive, but that quote pretty much sums up Muse’s latest offering from me. I understand that they’re one of the biggest bands in the country, if not the world, and that nothing I say here is going to have the slightest effect on their huge popularity, towering album sales, or the droves of fans who will be attending their next run of sell-out gigs. Their reputation is built mainly on the back of their big album, ‘Showbiz’ and a great live act, but I get the feeling that they’ve either lost heart, or something’s turned bitter in the emotional and creative cocktail that they used to get this far. The new album pulls in a load of odd and disparate influences, from the warbling strains of the Dr. Who theme tune heard in ‘Uprising’, or the strangely mangled Queen-like bursting operatic harmonies in ‘United States of Eurasia’ (A 1984 reference? In my anti-establishment band?).
The whole album feels forced, thrown together with a mish-mash of conflicting styles and rather samey material that doesn’t really take the band forward. I don’t know whether they’re trying to emulate bands like Radiohead and Portishead in trying for something avant-garde and different by sticking in these weird elements, but it doesn’t work for me. I now prepare to take flak for the rest of the week. As a small compensation, here’s a link to the Guardian’s rather white-washy piece with a We7 streaming widget where you can listen to the whole album.