Like Queen before it, Muse made the move from ornate, orchestral glam to a grab bag of genres—the transition happening between 2003’s grandiloquent Absolution and 2006’s scattered Black Holes And Revelations. Perhaps predictably, the band splits the difference on The Resistance. The album’s opening track, “Uprising,” kicks the door down with a high-heeled bass riff that echoes everything from Gary Glitter to, frighteningly enough, Fall Out Boy’s “I Don’t Care.” But Matthew Bellamy’s laser-beam guitar and “We Are The Champions”-esque lyrics leave no fist unraised. From there, the group continues to avoid most of its Absolution-era sprawl in favor of more chiseled, punchy anthems—although there’s plenty of prog flag-waving here and there, and Bellamy remains the world’s most convincing Thom Yorke understudy, at least for those who can picture Yorke with a smile of unabashed triumph on his lips. The band’s embrace of science fiction and the baroque has never served it better, even as the disc’s descent into disco, French pop, and full-on symphonic superheroism gets a bit giggle-inducing. Still, Muse—like Freddie Mercury and crew—know that great pop tunes are the sugar that cuts the pungency of pomp and pretension. And on The Resistance, the group shows it can turn a night at the opera into a daytrip to Candyland.
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