Muse - Origin Of Symmetry

From that instantly recognizable piano motif of "New Born", Muse take you on a strange yet entirely enjoyable experience. Moving things on from the debut "Origin Of Symmetry" takes in whole continents, a plethora of styles, a rollercoaster of emotions and yet still remains as unique and individual as we've come to expect from the band. Unlike Radiohead who the band have seen at times unfair comparisons to, the band seem to push their own personal limitations while still remaining true to the pop spirit. If Yorke and Buckley are at first logical steps in tracing the musical family of Matt Bellamy it seems strange that much of "Origin..." is influenced by the Swedish popstars Abba. At first it may seem like an unlikely pairing, yet take a few listens and you'll be witness to the same high drama and the almost instinctive classical piano style. Its almost worrying to think that if you cross-pollinated Pete Waterman with Ross Robinson then Muse wouldn't be too far from the equation.

"Origin Of Symmetry" is in essence the album Radiohead should have made instead of "Kid A". Over flowing with tunes. Brimming with emotion. Experimental without all the usual trappings. In fact Muse have just gone and made the first truly classic guitar album of the nu-millenium. Its appeal stretching the generation gap from tweenagers to those age-old rock dinosaurs. In that respect they've actually done more than any prog rock-miminalist-electro-left field-art rock collective ever could. While many bands have that distinctly English identity Muse perhaps are more transatlantic or pan European. At times dark kraut ("Megalomania"), at others arctic Russia ("Dark Shines") and even a drunken binge in a Spanish resort ("Hyper Music"). Not to say that it's a Wish You Were Here holiday compilation, but more a cohesive journey through an altered state of mind. While at times the debut could be a little disjointed (more a collection of songs, than an actual album) "Origin...." excels in the seamless rollercoaster.

If you buy one album this year then make it "Origin Of Symmetry". These guys will be filling stadiums by this time next year and "Kid A" will be a byword for over-indulged crap. Wiping the past. Setting the new standard and rendering everything pre 2001 dead and buried.

Alex McCann