The amount of Radiohead-derived bands is currently at an all
time high. When Thom Yorke and the gang released OK Computer
in 1997, the band strove to break away from the conformity that so
commonly characterizes popular music. They could not have foreseen
the wave of captivated teenagers who would one day grow into the
mainstream rock acts of the present. Muse makes no effort to hide
their influences, and it is clear from the first note that they are
trying to be Radiohead.

The most startling realization upon listening to the album is
that the band actually succeeds in its impersonation. The songs are
well written and the musicianship is impeccable. Opening track,
“Apocalypse Please,” finds lead singer Matthew Bellamy
borrowing heavily from Yorke’s angst-ridden vocal style while
the band pounds away with militaristic intensity. “Sing For
Absolution” finds Bellamy switching to a Jeff
Buckley-inspired vocal. The resemblance to Buckley is almost
uncanny; his passionate vibrato, his smooth lower range and his
haunting falsetto all appear in Bellamy’s performance.

“Stockholm Syndrome” begins with an intense prog
riff that gives way to pounding drums and dramatic vocals. Operatic
harmonies reminiscent of Queen make the chorus an unforgettable
moment in the album. A smooth solo electric guitar opens the next
song, “Falling Away With You,” conjuring memories of
Buckley’s “Hallelujah.” Bellamy’s
performance is nothing short of remarkable and while it would be
wrong to say that Absolution is a great album, it can be
said that Muse’s potential seems unlimited. The band is one
step away from producing a masterpiece of its own.

Music Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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