Album Review: Muse – The Resistance

Like an eerie remake of the Doctor Who theme tune, The Resistance trundles into life with the haunting “Uprising”, its first single, ushering in a welcome return for Devon’s greatest ever export: Muse.

It’s three years since the band’s epic Black Holes and Revelations stormed the charts, delivering the band their second number one album and the first to go double-platinum, as well as the distinctly un-Muse-like single “Supermassive Black Hole”.

Listening to Resistance the gaps between the Muse of old and the band as they are now have been filled in, stripping back some of the dancier elements in favour of a more bass-driven sound like that used on breakthrough release Origin of Symmetry.

The album as a whole takes rebellion as its central theme, and despite much discussion about its 15 minute song, the “Exogenisis: Symphony”, it is tucked away at the end of the record, but provides a worthy climax of musical and song-writing prowess to summarise what the entire album is about.

The piano makes a welcome return in this album, with over half of the tracks featuring frontman Matt Bellamy’s instrument of choice prominently, creating moments where the band resembles Freddie Mercury’s Queen. In many ways they have become the Queen of the modern day, since no other current guitar-based British band has maintained popularity for so long with such a theatrical feeling.

The third track, “Undisclosed Desires”, (the second of four tracks beginning with ‘U’ on the album) deserves to be the strongest single release, with the synthesized strings and relentless beat driving forward a story of the deadly nature of love.

There’s none of the anger of Black Holes’ “Assassin” here, but that doesn’t mean the album is without it’s powerful moments, just that they come in dark lyrical choices and a continuous strong bassline. The guitar takes a back seat once again this time, with only a few notable riffs to speak of, but strangely it isn’t missed as much as expected, as the other instruments step up to take its place.

Bellamy teasingly reminds us of one of the band’s staples in “Unnatural Selection” by basing the riff around the impact-ridden guitar intro section of “New Born”, suggesting it may be some sort of sequel, something which the band have done in the past with “Sing For Absolution” and “Starlight”.

Every track feels very much at home, unlike the occasional track in the past where you feel the band have dropped the ball and things sound out of place like “Hoodoo” or “Megalomania”, this album is complete and listens well all the way through without nagging you to skip past to the next song.

The album as a whole is one where tranquility and anger are uneasy bedfellows. In “United States of Eurasia” for example, the sombre piano quickly makes way for a flurry of musical build up, but the transition is well handled and serves to hold the audiences attention. Because it is for an audience, as much as a CD is designed for a listener, this one is presented as a spectacle; grand strings, foreign vocals and quiet moments combine with pounding drums and bellowing bass to create nothing short of a fully modern rock opera.

You’re so last summer: How times have changed for the better since 2008

It’s been a while since you heard from me, sorry about that, but now I’d like you to try and cast your mind back to this time last year, what were you doing? What has changed? Is life better or worse?

Personally this time last year I was just getting my teeth into the last year of university with a mixture of trepidation and excitement. Now I find myself on the other side the grass is greener, but too short to graze on just yet.

2008 was a negative year for many people, though strangely it was the international year of the potato…I’ve no idea why ask Wiki, but amid all of the job losses, wars and natural disasters there are a few things to be positive about.

The Olympics for one, we got 19 gold medals, NINETEEN, it’s pretty impressive non? Unfortunately it does mean we’ve got to work extra hard to do even better when we get to host the event to avoid colossal worldwide embarrassment…could be a tall order.

House prices fell dramatically, Andy Murray succeeds at getting everyone’s hopes up only to fail Wimbledon and Carol Vorderman leaves Countdown after 26 years and most exciting of all the Hadron Collider’s proton beam is switched on only for nothing to happen.

On the upside Obama was elected as the 44th president and we gained an extra leap second on the end of the year, a small reward for colossal global financial meltdown you might say, and with over 5million jobs lost in the UK and 7million in the US you’d be right.

The sadness does not end there, the year robbing us of acting legend and humanitarian Paul Newman, though arguably 2009 hit back by relieving us of reality TV ‘star’ Jade Goody, amid a flurry of tasteless publicity.

Speaking of tasteless, Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross get a firm slap on the wrist from the BBC in October after harassing ex-Fawltey Towers star Andrew Sachs about his daughter, but the two hang onto their jobs at least, which is more than can be said for the Radio 2 Chief Lesly Douglas.

The interest rate was slashed from 4.5% to 3% to try to stimulate the economy, as well as slicing 2.5% of VAT, but now that seems minor compared to the 0.5% interest rate reached in March 2009.

So really, there are some reasons to feel happier today. The economy is finally starting to turn around and technically speaking we may already be out of recession. The jobs market is in its best state in 17 months and England have actually started winning sporting events…surely this means Armageddon?

The simple truth is that things always look bad in the moment, but when we look back on this summer in years to come we’ll see the oft mentioned ‘green shoots’ of recovery and the hint of opportunity.

For me it’s been a hard summer of job applications and economic woes, but even in my world, where headlines proclaim: “Worst year to graduate, like, ever!” everywhere you turn, I’m starting to feel a little better about my place in the universe, not least because of the new friends I’ve made along the way. It might not be perfect, surely nothing ever is, but there’s still potential for me to achieve something before the end of the year.

So, with the first decade of the new Millennium almost as an end, what have you accomplished? Have a good think about it, it will probably be more than you think.