Muse’s sixth album is definitely their most diverse collection of tracks, and perhaps one of the most diverse albums of recent times. The album definitely has highlights, however due to not having focused direction or a solid concept, it suffers from the lack of cohesion between the many, many ideas.
The range of musical style on this record is absurd, we’ve got straight-up rock, opera-rock, synth pop, funk-rock, electronica and ‘Musestep’ (yes, Muse did dubstep). Bassist Chris Wolstenholme also takes up lead vocals for a couple of tracks.
The opening track “Supremacy” features a chunky Drop A guitar riff reminiscent of material from their second album, “Origin of Symmetry”. However, I feel the track is overproduced in relation to the dominant synth and string compositions throughout.
One of the highlights for me is “Panic Station”, featuring a delightful slap-bass hook and funk vibe, and in all honesty, is The 2nd Law’s “Supermassive Black Hole” in terms of energy and entertainment. In addition, “Animals” is one of the strongest tracks on offer here, featuring a unique time signature and brilliant classical guitar.
A disappointment in the track listing would have to be “Liquid State”, which although it has a great guitar-based melody throughout, it never evolves. A solo or a bridge would have given more life to the track, which is a shame as Wolstenholme’s solid vocal performance is surrounded by a stale and unambitious three-minute musical composition.
Favourite track: Panic Station // Least favourite track: Explorers