"Absolution", the third studio album from the English rockers Muse, (14 tracks, 52 min.) is no great departure from their earlier albums, and I mean that as a compliment. The trio provides a wall-of-sound with heavy bass and drums, and scratching guitar riffs and solos all over, with the occasional pianos to add to the "heavy metal emo". It works great. Best tunes include the opener "Apocalypse Please" which oozes urgency, both musically and in the lyrics ("Declare This an Emergency...This is The End of the World"), the current single "Time Is Running Out" (in heavy rotation on MTV2 and Fuse), but also "Stockholm Syndrome" and the thundering "Hysteria". And can we get over the Radiohead comparisons already? What does it matter whether these guys are or aren't like Radiohead era-"The Bends"? "Absolution" is an outstanding album, period, and should be enjoyed for what it is, nothing more, nothing less.
Muse are bone-fide stars in their home country of England and, to a lesser degree, elsewhere in Europe. They headline the massive UK open-air festival V2004 later this summer. To put that in contrast: about two months ago, Muse played Top Cat's here in Cincinnati, which holds about 200 people or so, give or take a few dozen (at least it was sold out!). True story. I still can't hardly believe it myself.