NME 1999-07 – Muse live at Exeter Cavern

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Muse live at Exeter Cavern

It's hot down here in the bowels of the earth and tonight Muse are on fire.

Their single "Uno" is at number three in the indie charts and 73 in the nationals, Teignmouth's most famous threesome has just had its debut album approved by the American Maverick label and previous British outgoing "Muscle Museum" is set for a Stateside release. The grass may be peeping through the cracks in the pavements of their hometown, but muse aren't letting it grow under their feet.

A Melody Maker feature has extolled the band's virtues and the NME is here tonight to witness a gig that will bring Muse a review so shiny you can see your reflection in it.

Vocalist Matt Bellamy is coolness personified; dressed, we are led to believe, in clothes purchased during a recent trip to Melrose, L.A. It's all right for some. Matt's vocal sear and swoop through a range wider than Gazza's girth, while basslines are sent ripping trough steely industrial melodies and booming relentless drum breaks.

The Spanish-dancehall influenced beats of "Uno" and "Muscle Museum" gain the loudest acclaim from Exeter's busiest room tonight, while "Cave" threatens to deafen you if you don't submit to its head-invading body-shuddering charms. "Showbiz", meanwhile, which will eventually be brought to recorded life as the title track of the Muse debut album - likely to be released around September/October - takes the exploration of atmospherics to the hilt.

The Muse sound, it must be said, is heavily geared towards conquering the American market, but there's more depth and emotion here than anything you're likely to hear from the cynically manipulative Bush for example.

There's no doubt that time in the studio with top producer John Leckie and the constant touring of the past six months or so has developed the songs and made the band tighter than the security at Fort Knox. As a rock and roll band Muse have really started to burn the ground. • AM

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