When Muse released a trailer for their new album, The 2nd Law, many fans of the alternative rockers were somewhat distraught to hear a bit of dubstep in the mix. Were Matt Bellamy and Co heading into an electro-pop area of music that would probably alienate some of their long-term fans? Well, those fears are well and truly laid to rest from the first track of The 2nd Law as Muse pick up more or less directly where they left off with 2009s The Resistance, only with a bit of evolution to incorporate what seems like every genre of music into the 13 tracks. The new material still has a number of symphonic tracks, plenty of thudding drum driven rockers and a handful of almost-ballads. But it does not end there. The influences behind the new album seems to stem from a bit of Led Zeppelin on the opening Supremacy (strains of Kashmir anyone?), into some poppish Pet Shop Boys territory and beyond into funk all before ten minutes are up. Even more surprising is number of tracks that begin quite bare with only Matt Bellamys vocals and very stark musical accompaniment, a haunting experience that sends shivers up the spine before the guitars and drums unleash hell. So while many bands set their musical taste and stick to it like glue, does Muses chameleon-like approach work in their favour or not. On the whole, yes. Very much so. There are very few groups that can pull off moving directly from funk into a piano concerto and on into something that could be straight from the 80s, but with Bellamys unflinching vocals driving on throughout it is hard not to be sucked into the dramatic opera that doesnt let up from the opening note to the last. Yes, the dreaded dubstep does appear along the way, but it somehow blends into the eclectic stew of styles and suddenly it just fits. I cannot think of another album in recent years that has provided such a diverse string of tracks that still somehow all hold true to the overall style of the band. Of all the tracks it is the final double-header of The 2nd Law: Unsustainable and The 2nd Law: Isolated System really bring in the focus of Muses recent work, namely the problems of the world we live in. Virtually instrumental, interspersed with soundbites of social commentary, the album ends on a similar note to their last album. When all is said and done, after the height of The Resistance, with its apocalyptic-opera, The 2nd Law holds onto the best of what has gone before and builds in something new and exciting. In the days of same-old, same-old, Muse deliver something out of the ordinary to make you sit up and listen, while emphatically voicing their feelings about the world once more. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_3p0dOwGBU Standout tracksPanic StationSurvivalBig Freeze
Anthony Lund is a writer and puppet maker from Durham.
He is the author of the Dickens parody, A Christmas Carol Retold, and also works as a Showbiz & Music news writer. His new novel, Grim Reaping, is out at the end of October. More information can be found at his website,