AudioJunkiesl the renowned online music mag known for its muse piss-taking seminars has just reviewed the new album , absolution.
And hell! They liked it!!
Picture the scene. In a dark little corner of London, the chosen ones elected by the national music press for their impeccable record collections, unmovable fringes, and vintage pre-war amplifier collections gather in a mysterious bunker deep in the heart of Hoxton to discuss the Future Of Indie. Ushered to their seats by eager, Converse-toting starfuckers, the debate rages on into the night
Jack White: I demand that the indie community of the world stop listening to any recorded output made after 1914, when the soul of mankind was destroyed forever by technological warfare and our innocence was replaced by evil, evil electricity. Except for Whirlwind Heat, naturally. Cos theyre really ace.
Chris Cester: What the fuck are you talking about you ponce? What the fuck does technological mean?
Caleb Followhill: Now gentlemen, lets not get too drastic here. After all, everyone knows that all indie really needs to make it successful is some knocked-off Credence Clearwater riffs, xxxs novelty t-shirts and really tight ballhuggers. Mr. Doherty, your opinions please? Mr. Doherty? Oh, shit hes wet himself again
On and on into the night it goes. Shortly after Pete Doherty is whisked discreetly out the back door and into his waiting gutter, theres a knock at the door. A cautious fashionista peers through the spyhole, unsure of what to expect. Its late, and the coke dealer isnt due for another hour or so. Eye pressed up to the glass, hes confronted with the business end of a panzer tank crewed by supermodels, and steered by a twisted, stick-thin shroomhead paranoid maniac, whose evil, eerie cackle rises up into the Hoxton night
For too long now, rock n roll (nee indie) has been so far up its own arse, its lost sight of what made it so goddamn special in the first place. Too concerned with what kind of shoes it was wearing, how tight its t-shirt was, whether or not it could see through its fringe. Too concerned about recording on equipment that pre-dates the cold war and limits wanton experimentation. Too fucking fashionable. It would indeed be a small minded band whose orbit was its own rectal passage that made an epic, over the top, completely bonkers record about how Jack White was a bit of a wanker, but what if you could make a record about the decay of western civilisation, failing economic markets and the slow yet steady coming of a new ice age and expose the new Rock Revolution for the self contained, self-obsessed trifle that it really was? Now that would be something, wouldnt it?
Are you sitting comfortably? Relaxed and calm? Mind sufficiently open? Good. Then let me begin. Muse have just made the record described in the previous paragraph.
Oh God, believe me it was hard to take. We are talking about Muse after all, the band who made the interminably awful Origins of Symmetry, who inspire more mass hatred than even Starsailor can, and who are led by him. Yes, you know whom we mean. He who cannot be named. Yet for all this, its hard not to listen to the whole of Absolution and at the end of it realise your jaw hit the floor with the first colossal piano chords of Apocalypse Please and stayed there for the next 52 minutes.
Bonkers sandwich-board scaremongering it may often be, but theres no escaping the fact that Absolution complete with orchestras, full-on fret wankage and song titles like Thoughts of A Dying Atheist is the most important, forward-thinking rock album of the year. Room On Fire might be the record everyone wants to hear in 2003, but Absolution is the record you have to.
Its closest relative lyrically speaking is Radioheads seminal OK Computer, a record that like Absolution both celebrates, documents and damns the modern world. The main difference, though, is that when Thom Yorke looked out of his hotel window in 1997, he saw a million flashing neon lights. When He Who Cannot Be Named turned on his television set in 2003, he saw falling bombs. Its an important difference.
He Who Cannot Be Named, it has to be said, talks a lot of shite. His latest ramblings have seen him go on about extra planets in the solar system that bring around apocalypse every few thousand years or so. His ideas are half-baked, half-formed retreads of other, more bonkers peoples ideas, and theyre madder than a crate of badgers. Hes still talking pish, but you wouldnt guess from Absolution. Its time we saw a miracle/ Come on its time for something biblical he sings on Apocalypse Please which sounds like Coldplays Politik backed up with an army instead of sappy felt pen post-it notes on Chris Martins hand. Its a Muse lyric that, in these times of post-millennial blood-for oil confusion, we can all relate to for once.
And thats why this album is the best album youll hear all year. The first six songs on Absolution Apocalypse Please, the incendiary Time Is Running Out, the dying grandeur of Sing For Absolution, Stockholm Syndrome, Falling Away From You and the stir-crazy Hysteria are among the most fitting, human documents of the early 21st century this writer has ever heard, unconcerned with outdated, 1970s notions of cool, it exists in its own world, blissfully unaware that its wearing the wrong jeans to fit in at this party.
As with all Muse albums, its too long by two or three tracks. As is de rigueur for all proper rock bands on their third album, its hysterically overblown, even for Muse. But in a world where it seems every album begins with the immortal 1-2-3-4!, and is over by 5-6-7-8! telling us nothing about nothing in between - Absolution is a record that sticks two bony fingers up at single digits and veers of into algebra, and wanders paths long since forgotten by mainstream rock bands, whilst finding new ones on the way.
This article may be an act of Audiojunkies heresy Jed himself once told me that he was trying to think of new swear words to describe this record but fuck it. Ive seen the light and Im running off to the mountains with a shotgun and a lifetimes supply of Spam. The spaceships are coming and we didnt even know it. And He Who Cannot Be Named? He had a name. Yes, he had a name. And it was Matt Bellamy. Mr. Doherty, youve pissed your last.