Black Holes and Revelations
As spiritual heirs to Queen, Muse has demonstrated a fitting albeit remarkable commitment to ridiculousness. Singer Matt Bellamy has never been shy about expressing his admiration of classical composers like Tchaikovsky, both in interviews and his band's music. But he also has remained steadfast in his commitment to aurally bludgeon. The results have been as colossally pretentious as they are oddly compelling, proggy sci-fi mini-suites tailor-made for the headbanger set. Black Holes aims less for cerebral pleasures than those of coital variety. Outfitted with a Dirty-era Prince guitar line and honeyed falsetto, "Supermassive Black Hole," the album's first single, proves a darkly seductive notice of the band's sexual awakening. Yet Muse resists a full exposition of its carnal desires, instead preferring to flirt from a safe distance. "Knights of Cydonia" and "City of Delusion" return the band to more familiar exercises in post-millennial tension, replete with the requisite power chords and synthesizer belches. Not unwelcome taken on their own, but somewhat dispiriting in light of what has come before. Black Holes, then, is a bit short on revelations but does provide the occasional provocative diversion. 3 stars
Muse plays the Tabernacle Sun., Aug. 6.