Attention: melodramatic, melancholy-ridden Radiohead aficionados experiencing cold sweats and other withdrawal symptoms while anxiously awaiting a new release from the English prog-rock modern-day legends, it’s time to get your fix. The notion that Radiohead is assiduously toiling away at a Baroque, elemental masterpiece a la The Bends and O.K. Computer that will exude emotional levels characteristic of those early Radiohead releases is naive. If an anthemic, introspective, alternative rock album free of abstract electronica is what you crave, then the third record release from up-and-coming English rockers Muse, titled Absolution, is your ticket.
Before an angry mob of Radiohead vigilantes creates a blog pinning the U.K. threesome as nothing short of a blatant Radiohead rip-off, there is a significant difference between Muse’s Absolution and any of Thom Yorke-and-company’s early releases – Muse resonates classically oriented guitar, piano and drum melodies that are indeed characteristic of Radiohead albums yet that are more complex, intense, intelligent and palatable than any Radiohead song, period. Blog away.
The album opens with Muse frontman and York vocal nemesis, Matt Belamy, belting out dramatic, almost sinister, lyrics about his fear of corrosion, destruction and death as an accompaniment to the apocalypse. Ferocious, grandiose, almost militaristic drumming is coupled with Belamy’s stylish tickling of the ivories that effectively engages the listener. Belamy’s ability to shrilly belt out the panicking lyrics “This is the end/The end of the world” captures the listener’s attention drill sergeant-style.
The album’s first single Time is Running Out boasts an enticing bass loop and a smooth segue into a haunting chorus. The track also gives the listener a taste of the band’s diverse influences, from the distorted instrumentals characteristic of Queen, to the timeless melodies associated with Rachmaninov and Chopin.
While miniscule deviations exist between the vocal chords of Belamy and Yorke, the fact remains that Radiohead devotees would happily stand in line for 30 minutes at Best Buy to devour Absolution if it were marketed as a digitally re-mastered release of Radiohead’s B-sides and not a new effort from Muse.
However much Radiohead devotees may sneer, Muse’s Absolution is a cross-genre, fundamental composition that surpasses remarkably similar Bends-era Radiohead. The band has deservingly earned critical acclaim and accolade in the U.K., and it’s only a matter of time before the same happens in the U.S.

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