Muse - The Resistance
It’s a beautiful and carefully crafted thing, etched on a platinum bust. Encrusted with diamonds, rubies and sapphires, designed for those deemed truly worthy of an audience with its glory. Its name? The Muse formula.
More revered than the recipes for Coca-Cola and Kentucky Fried Chicken, few knew of its existence save for a dedicated cult risking their lives to bring the contents out into the open. Their sacrifices have not been in vain, for this week they returned with the words that were had been so hidden for eons.
And they read “Quiet bit. Twiddly guitar bit. Exaggerated yelping. Garish operatics. Repeat!”
So Muse are back after a three year wait with The Resistance. Their magnum opus, if you will. But unlike Flash Gordon’s space-rocket, Matthew Bellamy chooses to ride across the cosmos on a giant gold phallus spraying territories with hot jets of his own self importance. Spouting his faux paranoia conspiracy nonsense masquerading as something interesting and 'out there', it's sad to say that as hard as he might try to be the new Freddie Mercury, he risks being remembered forever as a Butlins Gary Glitter.
Consider ‘Resistance’, with chorus lifted straight from Erasure’s ‘Respect’ and lyrics like “Are we digging a hole? / This is out of control”. Oh noes! The Illuminati must be quaking in their lizard skin boots. Elsewhere, we're treated to such insights as Fat Cats being wrong and war being bad, littered across the album with alarming regularity. And with everything 80s selling like Tamiflu at an Essex car boot sale, a skip-load of Depeche Mode-lite sounds simply give an air of quiet desperation.
But let’s not forget ‘Exogensis’ a symphony in three parts. Count them off. One, two, three, but no song to speak of. Like a magician’s sleight of hand or a game of pass-the-parcel with layer-upon-layer of wrapping yet no gift in the end - other than maybe the sweet release that it’s all finally over.
Somewhere along the line, it would appear someone decided that space age noises and the smoke and lasers of the live show are enough to draw the punters in. And the formula has worked up until now but the pageantry and spectacle counts for little when there's so little substance propping up the gala. The danger is that fans that love Muse for their music will, after a few listens, have that Wizard of Oz moment when they realise there is nothing behind the curtain.
While The Resistance features pretty much everything the band's sizeable fanbase has come to love about them, so much effort has gone into the spectacle that any soul is lost in the fireworks, gadgetry and silver pants. Once they promised to be the Radiohead for the common man, but seem to now favour Darkness-style levels of ludicrous pomposity - albeit without the knowing wink.