Single Review – Muse – Thought Contagion

Following on from last year’s Dig Down, Muse’s new prog-rock offering Thought Contagion is just as stormy and electrifying as you would expect. Matt Bellamy wails lyrics about anxieties infecting the mind, while screeches of guitar and streams off bass worm in the background to the pounding of percussion. The chorus erupts with arena-reading backing vocals to hoist Bellamy’s iconic cry. Does it compare to noughties-era Muse? Probably not, but it is just as exhilarating to hear the brilliant vocal and back-to-basics prog. According to the band, the album is nowhere near completed, and is expected to drop late 2018/early 2019. This single doesn’t fill me with heaps of confidence, but it’s enjoyable nonetheless.

Ellie Chivers

This Weeks Music Video with Kendrick Lamar feat. SZA, Muse, Paramore, Sting and Shaggy, Royal Blood & Millie Turner

Single Review – Muse – Dig Down

Muse unveil new single ‘Dig Down’ along with one bad-ass accompanying video. After teasing fans with 30 seconds snippets of raw material and informing the world they were busy working on three new songs, at Air Studios London; one heavy and two not so heavy, one-off single ‘Dig Down’ emerged. Everything you would expect from Muse, ‘Dig Down’ is an electro-fuelled rock anthem of dystopian proportions. Directed by Lance Drake the video sees model, activist and amputee Lauren Wasser charging through a chain of dramatic scenes Rick Deckard, or perhaps more fittingly Resident Evil’s Alice, style. As always, with Muse, the track is an example of the impact of political unrest on the world around us, and a definite call to arms – all be it a peaceful and hopeful battle invite, as Matt Bellamy states: ‘I was looking to counteract the current negativity in the world – that as individuals we can choose to change the world if we want to.’ 

Hayley Miller 

This Weeks Music Video with Muse, Vince Staples, Phoenix, Parekh & Singh, Royal Blood and The Strypes

Musicandotherthingz.com Best Vocalist of 2015

Here’s the list of ten nominees for Best Vocalist of 2015.

 

3. Kwabs (15%)

London’s Kwabs has certainly made a mark that’s arguably bigger internationally than it is domestically, but nevertheless the UK is gradually coming to it’s senses as to his talent. He is instantly recognisable for his deep Baritone vocal and it seems to have endless power behind it for him to sustain that tone effortlessly. Not only that, but he can apply his vocal to the Pop of ‘Walk’ or to the Power Ballad of ‘Forgiven’ as well as the slow piano tunes and Soul tracks on his debut album Love +War. A Great vocal talent that can only get better.

 

2. Matt Bellamy – Muse (19%)

It is difficult to have a category on Vocal performance without mentioning Matt Bellamy of Muse. His large vocal range as a Tenor is a rarity in the Rock world and he often uses it to maximum effect as he did again with Muse’s seventh studio album Drones in June. The musical power and weight of the bands sound rests on Matt’s ability to be heard above it all and shouldn’t be underestimated.

 

  1. Florence Welch – Florence + The Machine (23%)

An unsurprising top spot for Florence Welch who is able to convey a wide variety of tones and her entire vocal range is just one song, never mind a whole album. Even the whispered backing vocals of St.Jude are full of energy and her ability to gradually build up her vocal over a sustained period deserves commending. There’s more to being a vocalist than just power, Florence has that, but she can rapidly alter her sound to different forms which makes her greater still.

Muse – Drones Review

With their 2013 album “Live at Rome Olympic stadium” behind them, English rock band Muse quickly began writing for what would be their 7th LP, “Drones”, the album that’s secured their fifth UK number 1.  Muse focused on returning to their roots with “Drones”. Bellamy stated that “The album should be something that really strips away the additional things we’ve experimented on with the last two albums.” The orchestral and electronic sounds that were present in their 2009 album “The resistance” and “the 2nd Law” from 2012 are most definitely absent, apart from in songs such as “dead inside” and “mercy”.

It’s a bit of a no brainer that Mercy should have been left off an album that’s supposed to be representing the old Muse. The whole song could have been written by Chris Martin and the Coldplay squad, and in my opinion Muse should have ditched the feminine piano melody in order for it to match up with songs like Reapers for example. The Bass and guitar is spot on, and it really could have worked if the piano was exempt, But nevertheless the diversity is somewhat refreshing, if ill fitting. Now the guitar riff for the track Psycho is impeccable, and watching the lyric video on YouTube it’s evident that people are happy with it, “HOLY SHIT THEY ARE BACK <3” is one of many comments left by satisfied fans, but I must say, I was left feeling a bit cringed out from the lyrics. It seems like quite a few critics, myself included, are extremely happy with the actual songs themselves but have issues with the half hearted lyrics. It’s almost as if the words are disguised by the heavy instrumentation, you kind of forget that the whole song actually only has two proper verses, and they aren’t that great. All in all, the instrumentation of psycho is undeniably the old Muse, but the line “Your ass belongs to me now” is never something I would have imagined leaving the mouth of Matthew Bellamy in a normal conversation, let alone a released single. It’s the absolute epitome of shit lyricism, and I really wish I could unhear it. But whatever Matt, have it your way.
When you stray from the bad, you certainly encounter the good of this album. Since “Drones” is a concept album, it’s done its job of highlighting the dehumanisation of modern warfare and its impact, particularly with the song reapers and it’s unnerving video. We live in a world that can be obliterated by the touch of a button, and the song reapers sets out to prove just that. It’s really great when music can be used in a way that brings attention to the worrying aspects of our reality that many of us choose to sweep under the rug.  One of my favourite tracks from the album is ‘dead inside’. It’s evident that it has some operatic influences, but this seems to work because the guitar is still heavily present in the background. The percussion is potent and loud and I’m still in two minds about whether or not it fits or if it takes away attention from the vocals which I really enjoy in this song.
In general I love the album, if Psycho was permanently removed / had different lyrics. But beggars can’t be choosers, and myself along with thousands of other Muse fans are happy that the band have done something that’s brought them back to where they came from musically. It’s refreshing to know that such a thing is actually possible, as so many musicians stray from their origins and focus on selling rather than making enjoyable content. The album is well constructed and the message behind it is a powerful one.
Muse – Drones = 8/10
Hannah Crowe

Single Review – Muse – Reapers

Muses seventh LP “Drones”, due for release on June 8th, consists of a chilling 12 track narrative, with an unprecedented boldness that brings to light plenty issues governments prefer to keep suppressed.

A particular track from the LP with an even more particular message is the song “Reapers”. The intro is something you’d hear on Guitar Hero’s expert mode, a fast paced solo filmed in a white hot Call of Duty style survival map, matching the theme of the whole video- Trying to escape from radicalised methods of warfare, or in other words, Drones. The theme that is present in every single track of the album. “Drones” is a musical masterpiece, and also a massive reality check.
The track is super heavy on guitar riffs with aggressive percussion, emphasised by the painfully bold lyrics describing brutalised and deceitful governments. The stereotypical Femme Fatale is also a main element of the video. A blonde, red lipped female seductively controlling the air strikes, just the perfect amount of power to be deemed attractive and harmless by male listeners. Any more power, minus the red lips and angelic face, may have came as a threat. The most important issue raised by the blatant female objectification, be it on purpose or not, is how much this highlights how much we live in a mans world that still adheres to the binding laws set by the patriarchal order. And this “mans world” that we live in, is manipulating technology to commit mass murder and genocide, through the push of a button- by use of drones. What muse have done with not only this track but their whole album, is bring to light the damaging issues of modernised warfare that could end up destroying our planet.
Muse have obliterated any slither of an electronic sound and really focused on creating a heavy instrumental presence to match the mood that the lyrics set. What’s interesting is that although Matt Bellamy’s vocals tell the story, the guitar is still the main element of this song. But nevertheless the vocals are incredible, and take added depth from Chris Wolstenholme’s backing. Muse have truly gone back to their roots with “Reapers”, and hopefully the message of this album reaches exactly who it was desired to reach.
Hannah Crowe

This Week’s Music Video with Muse, Alabama Shakes, Django Django, Death From Above 1979, Toro y Moi, Tobias Jesso Jr and The Franklys

Single Review – Muse – Psycho

The Devonshire alt-rock big hitters that are Muse have announced a new album Drones for June 8th and with it comes the release of an initial track from it entitled ‘Psycho’. It’s very much a slight departure from the more pristine and cleaner rock of the bands last material and is a more rough and loose affair with the pounding, fuzzy guitars with the marching beat of the drums. These are met with screams from Matt Bellamy or with the vocal harmonisation of the group over the heavy instrumentals. It’s not a ground breaking track from Muse in any sense, but will be welcomed by hardened Muse fans.