Local Wire


Regardless of whether it's a fair comparison, Muse, Britain's second-favorite semi-atmospheric sensation, will always be the Jan Brady to Radiohead's Marcia. In fact, it's nearly impossible to read a Muse album review — including this one — that doesn't mention the band's sincere appreciation for, or outright thievery from, Thom Yorke and crew, depending on your perspective. One quick listen will tell you why: Lead singer and guitarist Matthew Bellamy's vulnerable, warbling falsetto is a dead ringer for Yorke's own hypersensitive U.K. drawl. What's confusing is that despite the constant comparisons, the two bands' similarities start and stop at the voices. Muse's latest release, Black Holes and Revelations, moves even farther from Radioheadness by paying homage to bands that were breaking ground when little Thommy was still in diapers, including Queen ("Soldier's Poem"), the Stone Roses ("Starlight"), and, perhaps most obviously, Prince ("Supermassive Black Hole"). But while such an overindulgent tribute to pop greatness is flattering, it's also a little derivative, especially compared with the pioneering hooks and electro-fuzz bass lines on the band's near-perfect previous album, Absolution. If only the literati could quit with all the pigeonholing, Muse might not have to pretend to be something it's not.
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Aaron Ladage
Contact: Aaron Ladage