Muse, “Absolution”

Jan 182005

One of the finest bands to explode out of England in a while happens to encompass as much Radiohead as they do Pink Floyd. Although they might seem to have come out of nowhere, Muse has been playing rambunctious music for quite some time. They have been a band since age thirteen, and although they released a few EPs throughout England they received little attention in the United States. "Absolution," is their breakout. The trio's sound is as distorted as much as it is melodic, and the songs flow seamlessly into one another as if the album were one giant song. Guitarists and pianists should definitely pay attention to the way that the singer, Matt Bellamy, switches back and forth from his guitar virtuosity to his Baroque-style piano playing without any fuse or fuss. The drums help move the haunting melodies, with beats relevant to Rush's Neil Peart, and the bass' minor notes are played distorted and low that helps to separate the sounds emulating from the strings. The opener, "Apocalypse Please," is a haunting melody about the end of the world, guided by some violent piano playing. The two radio singles "Time is Running Out," and "Hysteria," are two modern rock greats led by complex and distorted bass lines, and are sure to get Muse noticed in the ears of musicians and of rock critics. "Sing for Absolution," is a somber, pop-ballad with sincere lyrics and vocals that sound like some sort of graveyard lullaby. "Butterflies and Hurricanes," is a perfect blend of furious guitars and ambient piano fills, and "Endlessly," helps to show Muse's calm to their rambunctious storm. Most of the lyrics question Bellamy's world and the relationships he has been in and "the end is near, or here right now," seems to be the overall consensus in their message. Musically, Muse is ahead or at least quite distanced from the modern rock normality, but as far as vocals are concerned, Bellamy's Radiohead influence is over-prevalent in his singing, so the comparisons are unavoidable. For fans of rock 'n roll, Muse will be a nice remedy to overproduced and redundant rock radio, and fans of Radiohead should pick this one up immediately with a guarantee that they will not be disappointed.

Garden State Soundtrack, Various Artists

A Terrific Soundtrack to Accompany A Terrific Movie

Finally, a blend of songs that you and your mother will both enjoy! "The Garden State Soundtrack" has been receiving quite a lot of publicity, and for once it is a soundtrack that deserves it. Zach Braff's sad and self-pitying masterpiece "Garden State," has been critically acclaimed but only after it was a cult film for a short time. Could it be that the soundtrack is so fitting for the movie because the director also picked the music? The answer is yes. And if you are in disbelief, watch and listen for yourself. And if you are still in disbelief, well, there is no hope for you. Coldplay opens the album and the movie with their space-ambient "Don't Panic," and The Shins make two appearances with "Caring Is Creepy, and "New Slang," both of which are sure to put the Shins in regular rotation on radio and in homes. Cat Power's seductive and sultry voice empowers Zero 7 on the song "In The Waiting Line," and The Postal Service's 80's hit "Such Great Heights," receives acoustic treatment from Iron and Wine making it hardly recognizable but also breathing new life into the pop song. Thievery Corporation's "Lebanese Blonde" has great female vocals and a flowing hip-hop beat in the background to accompany it. One throwback song from Simon and Garfunkel, "The Only Living Boy In New York," is perfectly transplanted from 1970 into Braff's modern and mundane New Jersey. Frou Frou's "Let Go," the most recognized song from the preview of "Garden State," helps propel the somber soundtrack into something more optimistic, and Bonnie Somerville's "Winding Road" closes the album with some happy, major chords for another fine-crafted female ballad. If you liked "Garden State," pick up the soundtrack because it is rare that a mix of songs is so fitting to a clever plot and even more realistic characters, and chances are that this soundtrack will also find a nice fit in the lives of fellow listeners.

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