The day after I bought Black Holes & Revelations, Muse’s fourth album, I asked my flatmate if he had heard of them and he turned around and burned their first three for me, but so far I’ve only listened to Absolution a couple of times. I was surprised to recognize a couple of singles from Absolution but comparing them as albums I think Black Holes is the better work and the singer seems to depart more from his Thom Yorke sound.
Black Holes begins with what I think is supposed to be a political dissent song that is very judgmental, climaxing with a chorus repeating “you will burn in hell for your sins” whose joyfulness produces a dissonance of irony.
There is strong guitar throughout the album reminiscent of Queens of the Stone Age — or earlier Muse — especially on “Map of the Problematique” and the hard-rocking “Assassin” and “City of Delusion.” Meanwhile “Soldier’s Poem” could be one of Queen’s softer ballads.
Though diverse in style, the songs on the album are nonetheless interrelated. There is much more trumpet on “City of Delusion” than “Knights of Cydonia” — a whole solo in fact — and like “Cydonia”, “Hoodoo” also demonstrates the similarities between surf guitar and spanish guitar that evokes Nancy Sinatra’s “Bang Bang My Baby Shot Me Down”.
I don’t have a favorite track yet, mostly because they are all good and each one has a great hook somewhere (sometimes late) in the song, but the long guitar intro on “Cydonia” is still one of the best new melodies I’ve heard in a while.