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Muse Expand On Space-Age Style with “The 2nd Law”

By ALYSSA HOLCOMB

British alt rockers Muse are no strangers to space – and their latest release, The 2nd Law, is further proof of their futuristic focus.

But it is not just that techno-fused sound that makes Muse’s records stand out so much – it is the variety of genres, from opera to rock and beyond, that add to the band’s sheer theatricality. This mesh of sounds could ultimately go sour for any band, but Muse has almost always, in my opinion, found a way to combine the factors just so to make their songs soar and become instant stadium anthems.

On “Law”, many have criticized lead single “Madness” for incorporating what is a previously unheard style from Muse – the ever-popular “dubstep”, techno beats becoming darker and deeper, more repetitive. This fashion continues with songs like “Follow Me” and the mainly instrumental “The 2nd Law: Unsustainable”; yet, the majority of the negative buzz surrounding the album should be put to rest. This album can barely be qualified as a “dubstep” cop out – it has a sparse amount of the techno-wizardry in terms of that particular style, instead opting for the bonafide “Muse” sound, complete with soaring vocals (courtesy of singer/guitarist Matt Bellamy) and layered harmonies.

                On this record, the band gives off more blatant Queen vibes than ever before, particularly on songs like “Survival” and “Explorers”. What’s even better? The group focused more on musical territory previously unexplored – like pop. “Big Freeze” and “Save Me” are respectively more upbeat, particularly the former, with U2-esque guitar riffs plucking and shrouding the track in a more peppy light.

Again, all of these contrasting, almost cacophonic sounds could become a band’s worst nightmare. Yet, Muse and The 2nd Law take them and combine them so intricately, in only a way that Muse can, to turn them into a sound all its own – and, ultimately, it works.

For more information on Muse, check out their official website: muse.mu.

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