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The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


A review of the album 'Origin of Symmetry'

When Muse first emerged they were perceived as little more than a stereotypical Radiohead-wannabe band by most. Their debut album "Showbiz" did little to convince otherwise and now with their second album, the preposterously titled "Origin of Symmetry", they've only gone one worse by way of similarities. We're talking Queen here, in their pomp "glory" days. A Queen who would release "Bohemian Rhapsody" with a straight face. We're also talking about bands like Yes, like ELP and, once again, Radiohead. But those bands all have redeeming features in certain areas; even "Bohemian Rhapsody" has its moments. Muse, however, do not have any redeeming features. And "Origin of Symmetry" proves this by the simple fact that it is a truly dreadful album. 

Muse 'Origin of Symmetry'At the end of the day, "Showbiz" was a watered down copy of Radiohead's "The Bends" mixed in with a young man's fondness for the occasional guitar wig out. The blueprint for "Origin of Symmetry" comes from one song: "Paranoid Android from "OK Computer" and, like a lazy architect copying another's house style and importing it into his own design for a housing estate, Muse stretch whatever originality there was in one song into 11 songs worth. And worse still, singer Matt Bellamy thinks he has the lead role in some mystical opera.

Recent single "New Born" sets the scene and instantly, anyone over the age of twelve will want to switch off. Buy hey, give the band a chance, it has to get good. They spent a lot of money on this you know... A ska guitar and bass line emerges - hmmm, not bad. Matt Bellamy's voice gets even more annoying - not good. A chorus! - terrible. A widdly widdly guitar solo - oh dear. An "oo, oo-waaah" bit (and they even print their "oo, oo-waaah's" in the CD booklet) - good grief. And this is still only the first track. By song two you'll be tearing your hair out as synthesisers twiddle and twist over horrendous lyrics and delivery and even worse guitarplaying. And then a song called "Space Dementia" takes the reigns and you really do feel sorry for this copycat band.

Radiohead have already dealt with the bends, in a song called "The Bends" strangely enough, that divers experience underwater but used the condition in a romantic context above water - "baby's got the bends..etc" - so what do Muse do? They write a song called "Space Dementia" about space dementia that astronauts suffer in space but use the condition in a romantic context on ground level with the line "space dementia in your eyes". They deliver it with all the panache and grace of a deaf orchestra. And they print "oooooh" in the CD booklet just in case you don't know how the song ends. The next two songs end with a "waahhh" and a "woooaaahhhh" respectively. Groundbreaking, original stuff you'll agree.

With titles like "Citizen Erased", "Screenager" and "Hyper Music" (which the music is in a Ronseal-esque twist) Muse won't be winning any literature awards. And they won't be winning any awards for the music and lyrics either for "Origin of Symmetry" is unlistenable, unpalatable and above all, a hugely irritating listen. Once or twice it resembles something that you might listen to, but you'd want to be working in an abattoir when you feel that urge. Furious, miserable, bereft of originality and empty "Origin of Symmetry" is one of the worst albums ever made. Muse allegedly go down a bomb at the festivals but then so did The Farm, and they only ever wrote two decent songs. Muse have yet to write any.

Casey R