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July 14, 2006

Black Holes & Revelations

So, for the last couple of days, I've been wallowing in Black Holes & Revelations, the new album from Muse, who are apparently stupid huge in the UK, but not so much here. I bought their first album, Showbiz, when it come out in (uh... I think) 1999, but then they fell off my radar. Well, now they're back on it. BH&R is ridiculously overblown; these guys give The Darkness a run for the crown of Most Histrionic Band Since Queen. That said, this album yet manages a sort of spacey grandeur ("grandeur" not being something The Darkness ever really managed), and one track ("Starlight") is probably my favorite of the year so far.

And as it happens AOL is streaming the entire album, so you can check it out for yourself. It's all one stream, so you'll be lacking the song titles, but if you're interested, "Starlight" is track two (it comes in about four minutes and 30 seconds in). I also enjoy the fourth track "The Map of the Problematique" to an insensible degree (it comes up about 12 and a half minutes in). It's all fun, in an unholy "What if Freddy Mercury mated with Martin Gore while Dave Gilmour watched, and their children knew of the world only what they read in Interzone" sort of way. Enjoy.

Posted by john at July 14, 2006 12:20 PM

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Comments

Annalee Flower Horne | July 14, 2006 01:09 PM

Thanks for the rec!

...I'll bet it's great music to try to meet a deadline to *ducks*.

Armchair Anarchist | July 14, 2006 01:10 PM

Muse are not exactly a household name here in the UK, but a fairly big hitter in the alternative field. They are histrionic, granted, but in an utterly different way to The Darkness, who overflog the 'camp' horse a little too much. Muse are more like the proggish parts of Queen, I guess. With Pink Floyd sleeve art. I like 'em. 'Supermassive...' is all over UK radio at the moment. A fine riff, and no mistake.

If you like bands who make a big epic rock noise with a bit of science fiction grandeur thrown in (which it seems that you do), look for a British band called 'Amplifier'. I truly believe you will not be disappointed.

Ron | July 14, 2006 01:28 PM

My God, I think they're doing a visual swipe from Sun Ra, of all people. Exhibit A, from Space Is the Place, the greatest science-fiction film of the 1970s and, thus, of all time.

John Scalzi | July 14, 2006 01:31 PM

Which is itself a swipe on Bergman's The Seventh Seal, if I recall correctly. So much swipery!

Kiji | July 14, 2006 01:43 PM

But...but I like The Darkness! Whole bunches, even!

(I'm sure I'll get ripped apart for my fandom, but in my loyalty I couldn't let the moment pass.)

John Scalzi | July 14, 2006 01:53 PM

Well, I like The Darkness, too. Lots. Much in the same way I like a bag of kettle-cook potato chips.

Kiji | July 14, 2006 01:59 PM

Groovy! Good to know we're on the same page. :)

Colin F | July 14, 2006 04:30 PM

Sounds like you missed out on their previous release - Absolution.

Trust me, you need to rectify that situation. Soon.

Michael Rawdon | July 14, 2006 05:14 PM

Not bad.  I find the vocalist to be on the bland side, sounding like any number of 90s or 2000s alternative/pop male vocalists.  The instrumental sound is interesting, though.

I wonder if you'd like The Flower Kings?

Anonymous | July 14, 2006 07:18 PM

Am I the only one who hears hints of Thomas Dolby and Ultravox in this?

handsomel loser | July 14, 2006 09:21 PM

Muse- The band Radiohead didn't want to become.

John Scalzi | July 14, 2006 09:27 PM

For which Muse is no doubt thankful.

Chris Billett | July 15, 2006 10:19 AM

I just don't see why everyone has to make that (flawed) comparison all the time. Muse never comment on it themselves, thank God, at least as far as I've heard. They're a completely different band, and although I hadn't noticed it before, the comparison to The Darkness is more accurate!

I really, really like this new album. Exo-politics is my favourite track I think, but I do like Supermassive Black Hole too.

John, Absolution is probably the best album they did, but it grows after a few listens. This one I was addicted to immediately...

Also, when I was in Chicago in 2004, I noticed that the only album by them that wasn't out was the one that made them a household name in the UK - Origins Of Symetry. The track on that, Space Dementia, rings through my head every time I write a space scene. I'd love to see a director use it in a sci-fi film! Great album, and bright orange!

Jeff VanderMeer | July 15, 2006 10:46 PM

Glad you blogged about Muse, one of my favorite bands! I think the new CD is a bit uneven--I love everything else of theirs and kinda like this one but don't love it--but I LOVE the fact they don't mind going totally over the top.

"Knights..." is my favorite--but especially the live version you can download off of their site. It's absolutely IN-SANE.

JeffV

R | July 16, 2006 07:10 AM

You gotta get the two other Albums Muse have put out. Also if you get the chance catch them Live - They came to Australia a few years ago and put on a really good show.. I was deaf for days!

Radiohead they are not but awesome all the same... I'm not sure if they Cloned Thom Yorke and kept him on ice cause there are several similarity in appearance.. or is that just wishful thinking.

I love the new album!

R

Nate | July 16, 2006 01:24 PM

I agree with the recommendations for Absolution. One of my favorite albums of all time. I'm a little more iffy on this new one, but I don't think I've given it enough attention yet.

Zard | July 17, 2006 02:12 PM

Get thee to a record store and buy 'Origin of Symmetry'. It will confirm your view of Muse's brilliance. By my reckoning, 'Black Holes and Revelations' makes the 4th great album in a row by Muse. It is a real pleasure to hear a band that is willing to take a few chances musically and is unafraid to rock. I too wrote a review. Check it out if you are interested:
http://netzard.livejournal.com/13445.html

Lastly, get out and see them live. They put on a killer show.

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