3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
When good is not good enough,
This review is from: The Resistance (Audio CD)
Let me start out by saying this: The Resistance is a good album. It has some meticulously crafted songs ranging from soft rock (Guiding Light) to hard rock (Unnatural Selection) with a twist of electronica (MK Ultra) and good old-fashioned pop (I Belong To You). Thus, if you started out with MUSE on "Black Holes And Revelations", there should not be too many surprises for you here.
But if you started out with MUSE back in the days of "Origin Of Symmetry" and "Hullabaloo" (think Dead Star and In Your World), it is sometimes hard to believe that this is the same band. Gone is the spark of creativity and surprise, and gone are the elements of chaos and experimenting. In fact, The Resistance seems like a carefully calculated job by a band who knows exactly what their fans want, and then give them exactly that. Which, normally, I wouldn't say is a bad thing, but sometimes it can in fact be refreshing to get something that's not *exactly* what you expected.
Not that this is a new trend. For me, MUSE peaked with the superb "Origin Of Symmetry", which was exactly as bombast, over the scale and all over the place as we have become to expect from this band. Except back then we didn't really expect it - which was why it might have been such a great album. Next came "Absolution", which was also an excellent album, albeit on the bottom line more or less a polished and glossed up reworking of "Origin Of Symmetry" - the songs were great, but everything was a little more planned, a little more finished - and a little less surprising and refreshing. "Black Holes And Revelations" was another step down the road, even if it did bring in the element of electronica that hadn't been as realised previously.
So "The Resistance" is just the natural evolution of a band, that has now reached the point where every song sounds either as an exact reworking of a couple of tracks from their previous albums blended into one (anyone refusing this should compare the structure of Unnatural Selection to that of Assassin (in the original so-called 'Grand Omega Bosses' edit) or the opening riff of MK Ultra to that of Thoughts Of A Dying Atheist) or as a pastiche of other artists' work: The Queen reference on United States Of Eurasia is probably the most obvious (and probably also the best excecuted), the drums and general sound on Guiding Light is lifted right off Ultravox' Vienna (again, with pretty good result), while the Timberland jab at Undisclosed Desires is at best unfortunate. I Belong To You sounds like something you wouldn't be surprised to have turned up on a Rufus Wainwright album.
And then at last there is the "Symphony": Sure, it's grand, it's impressive, and I even think they used real instruments (although I wouldn't be able to tell from the digitized sound the whole thing has). But it sort of leaves me cold, probably because again, the whole thing has such a calculated feel. I get the impression they made this music, not because they really felt like making *exactly this* music, but more so that they could tick the box of "symphony": Been there, done that, moving on.
So bottom line? Like I started out by saying, it's not a bad album. It's just a pretty boring, sleak and unsurprising one. MUSE sounds like a band that have become a bit too nervous of taking a chance at the risk of losing some fans - but I'm afraid that losing fans is exactly what they will do if they do. But of course, if you gain twice as many teenage Twilight-loving adorers, maybe that's the price they're willing to pay ...