The Resistance Review

26 Sep
Guest writer Alistair Rolleston returns with another great album review. This time it is Muse’s latest offering under the spotlight.

I struggle to find a word to sum up the music that is unique to Muse. Their 50% classical, 50% rock, 50% brit pop style gives them a sound that is 150% pure Awesome. “Origin of Symmetry”, Muse’s second album, considered their defining work to date and one of my personal favourite albums, combined heavy, uniquely bass-driven tracks overlaid with stellar guitar solos, stratospheric vocals, and Rachmaninov-inspired piano motifs. Building upon this was their 2003 album “Absolution”, which upped the ante with heavy, guitar-lead passages which many have tried to replicate but none have been able to copy. With “Black Holes and Revelations” in 2006, Muse cemented themselves as one of the all-time great British bands and one of the best live acts in the world, with hits such as “Supermassive Black Hole” and the Epic “Knights of Cydonia”.

And so, with a sad song here and a sad song there, we arrive at Muse’s fifth studio album, “The Resistance”. Needless to say, it’s a rather drab affair.

No, drab’s not the word I’m looking for, it’s… utterly breathtaking.

The album is such a mix of old and new, of traditional and modern, of classical and rock, that’s it’s hard to believe it all would work. Yet somehow, amazingly, it does. The songs are constantly changing pace and tone inside of themselves, and holding them all together is no mean feat.

The album starts straight in with the lead single, “Uprising”, the video of which seems to imply that the world has been taken over by giant teddy bears… but anyway. Bass driven, anyone who finds the likes of Supermassive Black Hole entertaining should get a kick out of it. Following this, we’re out of the first uprising and into the “Resistance” itself, and then onwards into “Undisclosed desires”. It is here that the more classical elements of the album become apparent, with the string section being used heavily throughout the song in various electronic disguises. These classical elements are further alluded to in “United States of Eurasia” and its piano outro, “Collateral Damage”. Eurasia begins as a soft piano led melody, before morphing into something completely unique, mixing elements of Japanese music style with more traditional sounds, which have a distinct feel of Queen about them. Collateral Damage is a romantic styled piano piece, which flows effortlessly into the next song, “Guiding Light”. Thumping on the drums before moving again into the strings and the guitar, the tune has a definite feel of victory about it, and again the guitar solo in the middle of the tune sounds like something right out of the pages of Brian May’s notebook.

“Unnatural Selection” starts off on the Organ, but it’s intro is deceptive. It quickly builds into something not unlike Newborn, before pulling right back, halving the tempo, and moving into a slow groove, with a jazzy guitar solo before moving off again into “MK Ultra”, quite possibly my favourite song on the album. A Plug in baby-esque intro and riff serve to power the song along at a great pace and chromatic vocals give the song depth and mystery. Next comes “My Heart Belongs to you”, and the song’s French sound and lyrics give rise to it’s other title, “Mon Cœur S’ouvre À Ta Voix”. The song’s ending is particularly impressive and endearing, with a vaudivillian clarinet outro, and the lyrics work beautifully throughout. Again, pace and momentum change halfway through the song with the language, giving greater feel to the music.

So, after 8 songs of rock, what way to end? Muse show that they are not ones to conform to the sterotypes, and thus begins something rather unique. As we reach the climax of the album, we enter a three part classical symphony: The Exogenesis.  Describing it would take a review in itself, suffice to say, it’s a fantastic, fantastic way to end this album, something so completely different it fits perfectly.  The piano in the third movement requires special mention. Utterly fantastic.

And so the album draws to a close, delivering all I’d expected it to and then some. Maybe not as defining as Origin of Symmetry, but none the less shows that Muse still have a lot of song left in them.

The Resistance is here.

Guest writer: Alistair Rolleston

7 Responses to “The Resistance Review”

  1. Ali September 26, 2009 at 6:20 pm #

    Cue massive debate about this Album…..

  2. Cromie R September 26, 2009 at 6:37 pm #

    Oh Ali G, you can’t call Eurasia “unique”, it’s a shameless rip-off, even by Muse standards, way too much SCARAMOUCHE, the strings are lifted straight off Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”, and Collateral Damage is Chopin’s Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2. But other than that, I can’t argue with yr review, it’s a good album, second only to Origin of Symmetry in their catalogue…

  3. Ali G September 26, 2009 at 7:02 pm #

    Like I said, distinct feel of Queen. Unique was the wrong word, but it’s different from most of the other stuff in the charts. And I didn’t know that about Collateral, but yes, it quite clearly is :-P. At least I got the period right.

  4. Peter September 26, 2009 at 7:17 pm #

    Ali McC, I was just thinking exactly the same!!!

    I have no opinions whatsoever on Ali G’s write-up or the album itself, but I will enjoy reading everyone else getting excited about it all!

    I’m hoping for some U2-like controversy!!!

  5. Joel September 29, 2009 at 6:57 pm #

    “Utterly breathtaking” Oh please!

    You should have ended it after the 2nd paragraph, really.

  6. Ali September 30, 2009 at 8:47 pm #

    Oh………harsh words, it may develop further Pete, we live in hope of another musical review riot! :D

  7. Peter October 2, 2009 at 2:01 pm #

    By the way, who are the ugly blokes on the front of the application forms for the Eastern Presbytery Weekend?!? They’re going to put people off going!!!

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