Muse - Supermassive Black Hole

Alex Worsnip 15/05/2006

Rating: 5/5

There's one thing that has plagued Muse in the past. No matter how much they've changed their sound on the surface, whether it be the introduction of complex prog structures, grand piano theatrics, or lush synths, it's basically still sounded the same - because although arrangements differed, the underlying songs were the same, with big, angsty choruses and Matt Bellamy's tortured vocals. But now they've finally done it - they've finally taken a direction so unexpected that it succeeds in sounding totally different. Ignore the people that say it's just like mainstream pop; there is a dance/funk element in the song - you could probably drop it in certain clubs quite happily - but it's got far more in common with, say, Beck in his Prince-obsessed phase, all sexual falsettos and funky syncopation. But its all overlaid with the insidious, overblown darkness that tends to pervade their work, with crunching guitars and synth lines recalling Nine Inch Nails and Depeche Mode. It's just that the darkness sounds playful and sexy here, instead of bedroom-trashing. And this is a good thing, because they avoid the predictable, obvious crashing choruses that sometimes ruined otherwise appealing songs ('Time Is Running Out' for instance). Maybe they're still trying to get away from them, but this one shouldn't be drawing any immediate Radiohead comparisons.