Pop; Cds of the Week

The Evening Standard (London, England), September 28, 2012 | Go to article overview

Pop; Cds of the Week


Byline: JOHN AIZLEWOOD RICK PEARSON DAVID SMYTH PETE CLARK

MUSE The 2nd Law (Warner Music) AFTER six albums it would be unfair to expect Muse to surprise us any more. Instead, they have mutated into an often thrilling but predictable hybrid of Rush, Duran Duran and, especially, Queen. The less they hold back, the better they are, but The 2nd Law is not quite as all-gunsblazingly silly as it might be. Less bombastic and more tinny than previous efforts, it feels like the end of their epic phase, so Animals noodles when it should soar, Explorers sounds like a murkily produced, slower version of Queen's Don't Stop Me Now, and, confirming leader Matt Bellamy's declining powers, he's allowed bassist Chris Wolstenholme to contribute a couple of songs. They rose by being more extreme and more brave than the herd: coasting and reining themselves in doesn't suit Muse.

JOHN AIZLEWOOD TIM BURGESS Oh No I Love You (O Genesis) WHILE his Britpop contemporaries have signed up to the lucrative reunion circuit, The Charlatans' Tim Burgess has veered left -- creating a country-inspired solo album with the help of Lambchop's Kurt Wagner. It's an unlikely marriage -- Burgess writing the music, Wagner penning the lyrics -- but a surprisingly successful one. Album opener White arrives on the parp of horns and plink of pianos; The Doors of Then has a Beatles-y bounce; and A Case for Vinyl is a beautiful, slow-burning ballad. Burgess is still best when singing over a beat; on the quieter numbers, his unremarkable voice sounds overexposed.

But this remains a brave -- and occasionally brilliant -- album from one of Britpop's more intriguing figures. …

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