Epic U.K. Rockers Muse Return With Cinematic New Album (20060525 Rolling Stone article)
Epic U.K. Rockers Muse Return With Cinematic New Album
Trio's "Black Holes and Revelations" features experiments with electronica and flamenco
Orchestral rock trio Muse return on July 11th with Black Holes and Revelations, the follow-up to 2003's Absolution. The lead single, the electronica-tinged "Supermassive Black Hole," has just hit radio, driven by singer Matthew Bellamy's trademark falsetto.
"That song is completely opposite to what the band has been doing in the past," says Bellamy of the first track off their fourth effort. "I like it a lot. It shows a different side of the band. It's got more of a groove element to it, and it's nice if guitar bands can steal back the dance floor a little bit."
In order to create Black Holes over the last year, Bellamy, drummer Dominic Howard and bassist Chris Wolstenholme teamed with longtime associate Rich Costey, who served as co-producer. Bellamy allowed his imagination to run wild lyrically -- "Glaciers melting in the dead of night/And the superstars sucked into the supermassive," he sings on the single -- and he found himself drawn to electronica, as well as harmonium and brass lines.
"I like trying to find inspiration from those more unknown areas of yourself," Bellamy explains. "The reason why the trumpets and some of the other stranger instrumentations came in is we didn't hold back in terms of taking a fringe idea to its full extent," says Bellamy, describing the resulting sound as "filmlike."
The cinematic feel of tracks such as "City of Delusion" and "Knights of Cydonia" might be due to the frontman's recent relocation from his native Britain to Italy. Living not far from actor George Clooney's digs, the singer-guitarist immersed himself in local six-string music. "From living in northern Italy, I became interested in southern Italian music and music from the South of Spain, like flamenco guitar," says Bellamy. "When you hear it, it sounds like the music from the [spaghetti] western films."
The move sent him back in time musically, but when he set about writing lyrics, they came out brimming with modern topics. "Exo Politics" charts an "orchestrated alien invasion for the purpose of increasing military budgets and building space weapons," he says, while "A Soldier's Poem" is about fighting back. "I'm singing from the perspective of the person who's at the bottom of the pyramid awakening to the fact that they are being played as a pawn," Bellamy explains. "It's about wanting to fight against that and wanting to make a change."
Muse will tour the U.S. in July.