By Peter Hemminger

Since it’s by far the easiest thing to latch on to we’ll get this out of the way first. Muse singer Matthew Bellamy strikes a near perfect balance between Jeff Buckley and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke. Some small breathing issues aside (something should have been done about the audible gulps between lines on “Time is Running Out”), that voice is definitely one of the album’s strengths. It’s also one of the band’s stumbling blocks, since few bands can live up to the standards of either of those two artists.

Radiohead influenced so many British bands it’d be easy to write off Muse as yet another clone. But while most of Radiohead’s followers seem to want to emulate The Bends’ emotional clarity and musical bombast, Muse seems to favour the drama and atmosphere of OK Computer, infusing the album with the occasional hard rock guitar line and theatrical piano flourish.

For a three-piece outfit, these guys make a lot of noise. It all works brilliantly in the end. There’s buzzing dance beats on "Time is Running Out," a scourging riff on "Stockholm Syndrome" and an overall sense of adventure and intensity sorely lacking on many modern releases.

Combine that with the rare ability to pull off tracks which are simultaneously melodic and heavy and you start to wonder why Muse haven’t gathered a larger audience.

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