In 2009, Muse set out to prove they were one of the most innovative rock bands to come from our shores, to prove that they wouldn’t be left behind in an ever changing musical landscape. ‘The Resistance’, despite being genius in the band’s own eyes, ultimately fell upon deaf ears, mixed reviews and a musical community asking themselves whether this was the end for the Teignmouth super-trio.
Rather than bow under pressure Muse instead bravely responded by pushing further forward musically, experimentally and emotionally producing a record that though brilliant, also emits a feeling the band lost their focus somewhere in the process.
‘The 2nd Law’ attempts to combine the serious socio-political message that we live within an ‘unsustainable society’ alongside the classic exploration of love resulting in an album that will lull you softly to sleep before proceeding to throw you out a window into chaos.
Opening track ‘Supremacy’ begins with a crunching guitar riff and James Bond-esque horns to create a familiar Muse stadium-opera, Matt Bellamy’s falsetto screams and guitar solo ensure previous doubters understand that the band are still capable of creating past glories.
The unfavourable single ‘Madness’ however, with its simple electronic bass line, poppy vocals and the 80’s disco infused ‘Panic Station’ make you question whether Muse have actually gone mad themselves when laid out next to the crushing drums, furious guitar solos and blood stirring vocals of Olympic anthem ‘Survival’.
Matt Bellamy had previously proclaimed ‘dubstep was the new rock’ and it seems he wasn’t just attempting to court controversy as ‘The 2nd Law’ takes the electronics up to a speaker shattering 11 with the Nero produced standout track ‘Follow Me’ and the brave yet lacklustre ‘dubstep’ track ‘The 2nd Law: Unsustainable’. Bassist Chris Wolstenholme lends his vocals to the gorgeous ballad ‘Save Me’ and pours his emotions out in the galloping ‘Liquid State’, a track referencing his long struggle with alcoholism.
Despite a confusing first half and general lack of flow (…and sometimes sense) throughout ‘The 2nd Law’, Muse have shown they still have what it takes to progress musically whilst maintaining their status as the best of British rock. ‘The 2nd Law’ isn’t a ‘Black Holes and Revelations’ masterpiece but it’s certainly no ‘The Resistance’ either.
It may be muddled but it’s a step in the right direction, welcome back Muse.