Album of the week - 'The 2nd Law' by Muse
The 2nd Law
Last year, Muse frontman Matt Bellamy announced the band's sixth album would be a "Christian gangsta-rap jazz odyssey, with some ambient rebellious dubstep and face-melting metal flamenco cowboy psychedelia".
It tells you something about Muse that it was hard to work out exactly how far his tongue was lodged in his cheek.
It could be suggested that the only real giveaways to Bellamy's comic intent were that his bandmates were talking up their forthcoming album as a major sonic reboot and that his description didn't sound that far removed from what Muse had done previously.
The single Madness suggested a new stripped-back approach: there's not much to it beyond an electronic bassline, a decent pop song and Bellamy's vocal.
The most obvious sign of change on The 2nd Law is its incorporation of dubstep, produced by Skrillex and dismissed by its detractors as "brostep". It actually meshes with Muse's existing style remarkably well.
This is all great rollicking fun but, amusing and enjoyable as the aural histrionics are, you do start to wonder what, if anything, they're trying to express, or if it's just bombast for bombast's sake.
Alexis Petridis (The Guardian)