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CD review: Muse’s ‘The 2nd Law’

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Annie Zaleski

The Details

Muse
The 2nd Law
Two and a half stars

Muse’s insistence on pushing the boundaries of rock ’n’ roll is both frustrating and admirable. The trio’s ambition can lead to some incredible music (see: 2006’s Black Holes and Revelations). but the execution of its grandiose vision often comes at the expense of creative focus.

Exhibit A: Muse’s sixth album, The 2nd Law. Between its windswept strings, snarled riffs and electronic sparks, the record has a lot of great moments—futuristic, blippy anthem “Follow Me,” the piano-driven, minimalist “The 2nd Law: Isolated System,” the Viking-march dubstep of “The 2nd Law: Unsustainable” and funky, bass-heavy standout “Panic Station,” which sounds like a hybrid of Duran Duran and late-’80s Cure. Still, The 2nd Law never gains momentum or fully connects.

If anything, bassist Chris Wolstenholme provides the album’s clearest moments. His stoner-rock stampede “Liquid State” and delicate, Brit-poppy guitar ballad “Save Me,” at least, are affecting and concise.

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