NME 1999-03 – Muse at the Bristol University

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This transcription may be inaccurate as we have not seen an original copy.

Muse at the Bristol University

Let's get it out of the way now, shall we? Devon trio Muse are this month's official Band Who Sound Like Radiohead. The guitar riffs in 'Sober' sound like those in 'Paranoid Android'; their tunes are all spectacular, stadium-sized monsters and it would be impossible for singer Matthew Bellamy to sound any more like Thom Yorke.

Yet this isn't as bad as it sounds. Indeed, it's already led to the band's successful In The City appearance and a deal from Madonna's Maverick label - and tonight it's easy to see why. Though any serenity is shattered by their brutal Nirvana-like guitar blitz, Matthew still sings like a fragile opera singer on helium, growling, sighing and finally soaring to a bewitching, crystal-clear falsetto.

At times, the effect is stunning and the Radiohead comparisons are only complimentary. Especially as Muse are younger, more dramatic and, in current Spanish-tinged single 'Muscle Museum', even more desperately life-or-death than their heroes. Unfortunately, there's a fine line between this and self-indulgence. By the end, Muse are playing purely for themselves and it all turns into an excuse for Matthew to show off his vocal range. As they easily impress before this, maybe they should save the self-conscious pomposity for the third album.

Siobahn Grogan

See also

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