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Muse - Origin of Symmetry (Mushroom)

Radiohead have a lot to answer for. It's bad enough that we have to put up with their own increasingly pretentious crap, but they have also spawned the ultra-boring Travis and Coldplay. If it hadn't been for Radiohead, maybe they'd have become accountants or architects. Their brand of turgid whinging and shoe-gazing whining highlights everything that's gone wrong with Radiohead. Now, back to the point. Once upon a time, Radiohead wrote great guitar-based indie-pop songs - 'Creep', 'Anyone can play guitar' - powerful, tongue in cheek, fun!

There is one band that has taken the torch from this era of Radiohead and run with it. And this band is, unsurprisingly as this is a review of their second album - Muse. They're not big or clever, but thankfully, they don't pretend to be. Opening with the single 'New Born', Muse showcase everything they can do in just one track, with the quiet, melodic intro building into the powerhouse onslaught of the chorus, with its chugging guitar sounds and soaring vocals, off on a variety of tangents, with the pomposity of Queen, if not quite the same level of musical ability. In fact, 'New Born' is such a complete and powerful track that it sets a standard that is difficult to follow.

They struggle on adequately, but never match the initial assault of the opener. Other highlights do include the screeching anti-love song, 'Hyper Music', and the first single released off the album, the slice of radio-friendly indie-rock that is 'Plug In Baby'. At timed, though, Matthew Bellamy's enthusiastic screeching does get on the ol' nerves, particularly on the crystal-shattering 'Micro Cuts', while their version of jazz standard 'Feeling Good' is tolerable, but Matt ain't no Eartha Kitt.

Muse are not going to be inducted into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame anytime soon, and "Origin of Symmetry" adds little or nothing to the cannon of great music, but it is fun guitar-based indie, the likes of which is all to rare these days. Muse provide an enjoyable antidote to the boring navel-gazing crap of Travis and Coldplay, and that's good enough for me.

Donnacha DeLong

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