Three years on from The Resistance, the Devon stadium rockers return with their sixth album and a degree of scepticism from their devoted fanbase. Frontman Matt Bellamy has talked up the album as “something radically different”; chiefly, a new dubstep influence. The singles have done little to quell fans anxieties either. Where “Madness” perfectly bridged classic Muse with their new electro influences, Olympics theme “Survival” sounded like self parody. But how does the album itself fare?
Unfortunately, much of it falls into the latter category. All too often, Muse let their recent wave of new influences and their own ambition get the best of them. “Panic Station” sounds like an abandoned Van Halen track, and the sentimentalism of “Follow Me” fails to ring true. Either we will have to wait for their next album for Muse to get a handle of their new direction, or they may have finally bitten off more than they can chew.
That’s not to say the album doesn’t have its moments. The aforementioned “Madness” is a real gem, “Big Freeze” is classic Muse and “Supremacy” is sure to become a live favourite. However they are rare joys on an album that mostly makes an impression of admirable failure.
No-one would fault the band for ambition, but with The 2nd Law Muse appear to have jumped the shark. The lyrics? Clichéd. The music? Muddled. The “Queen-isms”? Too many to count. Also, the band’s decision to include their most dubstep track at the end of the album feels almost apologetic; “Is it okay if I just leave this here?”
The band need to seriously re-evaluate their future, although it’s difficult not to admire their bravery. Here’s to Muse: admirable, but unsustainable?