In 2004, U.K. favorite Muse broke through in the U.S. with Absolution and major performances across America that won legions of new fans. In 2006, Muse takes a bold new step with Black Holes And Revelations, a powerful, upbeat epic album that takes the band’s music to a whole dimension. Once again co-produced by Rich Costey (Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave), Muse incorporates influences from electronica and Prince to pure pop. The album is sure to be a revelation to those still unfamiliar with the 2005 Brit award winner for Best Live Act who headlines this summer’s Reading and Leeds festivals.
Sounding like the confident, ambitious superstars they already are in their native UK, Muse follows up their breakthrough Absolution with an album that tempers the trio's unabashed grandiosity and apocalyptic obsessions with a smart pop groove. The minimalist angst of the opening "Take A Bow" may bridge the goth-pop conceits of the collection's successful predecessor, but those expectations are quickly kicked aside by "Starlight"'s synth-pop bliss, the falsettoed, space-disco thump of "Supermassive Black Hole" and the chilly, New Wave redux sheen of "Map of the Problematic"; so much for being held hostage to those early Radiohead comparisons. Indeed, on the lilting "Soldier's Poem" vocalist Matthew Bellamy cannily channels Freddie Mercury while "Assassin" pulses with the familiar metallic nerve and lyrical dread of Muse past. But by the time "Knights of Cydonia" erupts in a wrenching, melodramatic climax that somehow fuses ELP, Davie Allan, Procul Harum and Chris Isaak with enough giddy abandon to suspend disbelief, Muse have long since proved their case as genre-be-damned rock world-beaters. --Jerry McCulley