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Origin of Symmetry
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The trouble with Muse is that they make the creation of superb art rock look so easy that most listeners will take it for granted. Unless you've been around a few years and listened to a few other bands' attempts to create this sort of music, then you may fail to appreciate the unique mix of creative talent, inspiration, sheer hard work, and encyclopaedic knowledge of rock history that must have gone into this project.
Sadly, the only influence most reviewers on this site have spotted has been Radiohead. That's fair enough up to a point. Matt Bellamy sounds a bit like Thom Yorke on some songs, and Muse owe Radiohead an even more important debt: It's only because Radiohead carved out a mass market for this kind of art-rock back in the late 90's that there is an opening for new bands like Muse now. However, it is unfair to write Muse off as copyists. On the contrary, they have in some respects surpassed Radiohead at their best, matching the sonic ambition of Radiohead's later work without sacrificing the melodic sweep and the compelling hooks that made "The Bends" so listenable. What's more, Bellamy's voice is a considerably more flexible and emotionally powerful instrument than Yorke's, and embraces far older and deeper influences going right back to the late '60's.Read more ›
Origin allowed Muse, previously a promising band often likened to Radiohead, to fully demonstrate the breathtaking scope of their sound and ambition. Unlike the relatively dour and understated work of many of their contemporaries, Muse chose to mix the grandeur of classical music, metal, prog rock, and 'alternative' rock to create a massive, grandiose soundscape like no other. Several of the tracks on this album include piano passages from Rachmaninoff; throughout one also encounters huge orchestral-type arrangements, spectacular organ, light-and-dark contrast of the kind not heard since the heyday of the Smashing Pumpkins, and some truly awesome falsetto singing.
Ultimately though, this band is about intelligent guitar driven rock, and I doubt that there is a better current exponent of incendiary yet scientifically precise guitar playing than Matt Bellamy. The songs on Origin provide ample scope for Bellamy's virtuosity, from riff-driven tracks like "Plug In Baby" to the massive stadium sound of "Citizen Erased" and the spanish-tinged guitar of "Darkshines"...Read more ›
The first two songs open with delicate rippling piano intros that suddenly blossom into rock riffs. Feedback kicks off into sizzling basslines and riffs in "Plug In Baby" and "Citizen Erased," while wind chimes and an acoustic melody are at the heart of "Screenager." "Hyper Music" is the only dud. It's a discordant clatter that becomes a discordant rock song -- nuff zed.
But as good as most of the album is, Muse save the best for absolute last. The penultimate song "Feeling Good" is perhaps the best -- fuzzy chopsticks start the song, followed by a stretch of epic rock and soaring vocals. The finale is no less entrancing, a slowly stately wave of sound that slowly transitions into an equally rich rock song.
Americans really got to know Muse through their latest album, "Absolution." But it's not the only album they have done, nor is it the best. "Origin of Symmetry" may well take that honor, or at least tie with their debut "Showbiz." Relatively few people know about these earlier albums, or about the rich apocalyptic quality of Muse at their best.
Muse is definitely a band for Radiohead fans -- it has the same rich spaciness and art-rock quality, but it's more grounded and gritty. The most entrancing instrumentation is done on piano -- it can be delicate, dark, fuzzy, or outright epic. The piano is accompanied by smashing percussion, sinuous riffs and basslines, and sweeps of spellbinding electronics.
Matt Bellamy puts his good vocals to use in every song, and he's as versatile as his piano.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
When I listen to this album, I sometimes cry because of the genius lyrics of Matt like "Im sure, I used to be so free" in citizen erased. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Mark A. Westphal
I love Muse, but had to order Origin of Symmetry to complete my collection. This early album has intensity, relevance, passion, and even humor in its trademark darkness. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Pamela A. Jarrett
|Topic||From this Discussion|
|The best album ever made||
I just bought OoS yesterday and I've been listening to it non stop. My favorites so far are New Born, Bliss, Space Dementia, Micro Cuts, and Screenager. Plug in Baby is awesome as well and the first time I heard the opening riff my jaw litterally dropped. Matt Bellamy's voice is chillingly good... Read More
Apr 25, 2008 by Jennifer Shaw | See all 7 posts
|New fan of Muse.... Help ........||
Origin of Symmetry!
Jan 10, 2009 by D. Auerbach | See all 6 posts