If you were to take Queen, Radiohead, and The Darkness and toss them all into some sort of musical blender, you really shouldn’t be surprised if the result sounds something like Muse. The 2nd Law is the latest release from these Brit rocking, stadium shakers, and their sights are set as high as they always are.
Bands like Muse have plenty of money to toss around during the recording process and it certainly shows. The 2nd Law certainly never lacks for polish. Every note is placed exactly according to plan and every sound has been masterfully engineered. This is a sound that you won’t find on any indie or rookie musician’s album and it is something that Muse has earned. The question is whether or not they put it to good use.
With the album opener, Supremacy, they come out of the gate hard and already it has the epic feel of a James Bond theme song, complete with soaring orchestral lines and reverb laden drums. Already it is possible to imagine the roaring of a shaking stadium. Following this is their huge single Madness which can be heard playing on popular radio about once every five minutes. It is not a song that I am overly nuts about, but I can’t help but admit that it’s minimalist structure is catchy as hell and has a habit of getting stuck in the head.
Their song Survival (and the preceding Prelude) might be recognized from the London Olympics. It is a strange number, with bizarre choral work supporting the melody, but it works. The song is an effective rally and has the potential to be a new generation of We Are The Champions. Unfortunately, for me, it was after this that the album started to fall short for me.
Songs like Panic Station, Animals, and Explorers felt like things we’ve already heard before. They just lacked the punch that Muse has shown that they are capable of delivering and come off as uninspired. On the whole it makes for an uneven listening experience.
Muse has shown they are capable of reaching soaring heights musically, and they get there at times. The 2nd Law is not without some extremely good moments but it is far from being their definitive album.