If your a Muse fan you cant say you werent a LITTLE nervous about this album launch.... The band that pretty much started (and carried) the entire Brit-pop movement returns for a fourth album. And the two questions that immediatly springs to mind is "Is it good?" and "Does it live up to the others".
Well these questions just happen to be very easy to answer.... Yes, and yes.
Musically, this is a cut above the other three albums, and is the next step in Muse's evolution. At first the direction they seem to have taken may seem suprising, but as soon as Matt's voice starts on the opening track "Take A Bow", you WILL feel that this is the right place for Muse to be. There are times on this album where it feels heavily edited, and very much like a studio album only, as the almost synthetic notes rise and rise before running together with the lyrics being looped over, it could almost pass as a dance song, but then the guitar kicks in again and it feels like Muse again. It really is a breathtaking way to open the album.
I could go on for ages about each track, from the catchy piano riffs of "Starlight" to the epic single, "Super Massive Balck Hole" but special note must be made of a few tracks, namely "City Of Delusio" and better yet, "Knights Of Cydonia". There are clear Queen influences here, but laced in with Muse's own particular blend of Matt Bellamy's simply amazing voice, to the pounding Bass and Drum riffs that have taken a much more prominant stand. However Queen esque chorus's are not the only place that influences have been drawn from. In "City of Delusion" we hear clearly a middle eastern style blended in with an accoustic guitar, then on to the rising base, before finally being blended again with trumpets in an almost salsa beat, before rising to and epic Crescendo that is the end of the song.
However the old Muse that we have grown to love is still very much alive here, obviously in Matt's vocals, but also in his astounding pianist skills, and these still shine through in perfect harmony with the rest of the band.
There are many tracks on this album that would not be out of place in a movie soundtrack, the album itself could quite easily stand up as a soundtrack on its own, such is the diversity of the songs, especially the closing track, "Knights Of Cydonia".
Simply put, this is Muse's best album yet and is a perfect blend of old with new. Unmissable and i would reccomend it to all Muse fans, and to those that arent sure, buy this album. You wont regret it.