British rock trio Muse have finally unchained themselves from those pesky Radiohead comparisons with their brilliant new album The Resistance, though they’re sure to be likened to Queen now. Integrating classical and opera music into their theatrical electro-rock sound, Muse have created one of the most exciting song cycles I’ve ever heard.
“Uprising,” which is the album’s first single, opens with an energetic, clap-happy glam rock shake. The album’s title track emerges from whispery synths into soaring stadium rock punched up with Styx-like vocal bursts, while “Undisclosed Desires” slides a darker undercurrent into retro ’80s synth-pop.
Singer-songwriter Matthew Bellamy brings new meaning to the phrase “orchestral arrangement” with the astounding Orwellian epic “United States of Eurasia (+ Collateral Damage).” A quiet start first explodes into Bellamy’s signature wail then drops into a dramatic, almost Middle Eastern rock instrumental. A full fledged rock opera of vocals soon follows before it all melts into Chopin’s “Nocturne in E Flat Major.” The entire piece is breathtaking and Bellamy has a career in classical waiting if he ever tires of rock.
“Guiding Light” recalls the prominent beat of “Vienna” by Ultravox, but the quaking guitar rock of “Unnatural Selection” and “MK Ultra” is purely of the modern age. “I Belong To You (+ Mon cœur s’ouvre à ta voix)” is mostly a catchy pop-rock ditty, but Bellamy again experiments with genre-bending toward the end by crooning the aria from the opera Samson and Delilah.
The album ends with the three-part symphony “Exogenesis” which often sounds more like an eerie movie score than an orchestral work. Bellamy’s haunting keens blend with searing guitar riffs all wrapped with atmospheric strings in “Part 1 (Overture).” Melodic piano bookends “Part 2 (Cross-Pollination)”, but the center of the song is more bombastic arena rock. Finally, “Part 3 (Redemption)” gently closes the album with a somber, pretty piano melody not unlike Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” but with Muse’s trademark rock sound firmly planted inside.
I was not granted permission to share an mp3, but you can hear samples of each track at the links below.