July 20, 2006

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Muse, Black Holes & Revelations
Warner Bros., 2006

Hope you’ve got a good pair of speakers.

The new Muse album Black Holes and Revelations will sound fine on your sister’s shelf system, but like all of the band’s work, it’s best played on some really big floor-standing boomers. This disc has got some great LP credentials — 45-minute length (the scientifically proven perfect rock album duration), old-school loosely conceptual protest lyrics thinly veiled with space-out themed studio effect production values. Think the best of the ’70s album rockers with an alterna-rock twist. “Take A Bow” starts the festivities, with lyrics about a certain world leader who is reaping what he sows. The standard Muse formula is here, with pulsating bottom end and swirling synths and guitars. It’s a nice opening, but just a prelude. “Supermassive Black Hole” is a club track masquerading as a rock song — check out the falsetto lead vocal — not unlike classic Prince. The truly standout piece is “Soldier’s Poem,” a deceptively laid-back interlude with harmonies every bit as gorgeous as Queen’s. By the time you hit the prog-rock feast of “Knights of Cydonia” at the end of the disc, you’ll be just ready for the Dick Dale guitar stabs, trumpets of the battalion, and acapella bridge that will send shivers down your spine. Like I said… got a good set of speakers? B

— Rick Ganley


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