Black Holes and Revelations (Warner Bros.)

Muse 

Black Holes and Revelations (Warner Bros.)

Regardless of whether it's a fair comparison, Muse, Britain's second-favorite semi-atmospheric sensation, will always be the Jan Brady to Radiohead's Marcia. In fact, it's nearly impossible to read a Muse album review — including this one — that doesn't mention the band's sincere appreciation for, or outright thievery from, Thom Yorke and crew, depending on your perspective. One quick listen will tell you why: Lead singer and guitarist Matthew Bellamy's vulnerable, warbling falsetto is a dead ringer for Yorke's own hypersensitive U.K. drawl. What's confusing is that despite the constant comparisons, the two bands' similarities start and stop at the voices. Muse's latest release, Black Holes and Revelations, moves even farther from Radioheadness by paying homage to bands that were breaking ground when little Thommy was still in diapers, including Queen ("Soldier's Poem"), the Stone Roses ("Starlight") and, perhaps most obviously, Prince ("Supermassive Black Hole"). But while such an overindulgent tribute to pop greatness is flattering, it's also a little derivative, especially compared with the pioneering hooks and electro-fuzz bass lines on the band's near-perfect previous album, Absolution. If only the literati could quit with all the pigeonholing, Muse might not have to pretend to be something it's not.

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