The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that no system can grow without energy coming into it, renewing and revitalising. This is the running theme of the album. It kicks off with style in ‘Supremacy’, an epic Rock-anthem that sounds like an opening for a Bond Movie. ‘Madness’ is a soothing rock-ballad, the Queen-likeness very evident, like it’s come down a time warp from the late 70’s/early 80’s, which ‘Panic Station’ also emulates. The piano-led ‘Prelude’ slows things down, only to lead straight into the Bohemian Rhapsody-like ‘Survival’ which builds up into an Operatic score, just like the Queen song.
‘Follow Me’ is my favourite, classic Muse, like it was lifted straight off the Black Holes and Revelations album, with some Bowie/Techno- rock mixed in for flavouring.
Chris Wolstenholme takes over Lead Vocals for ‘Save Me’ and Liquid State’, which he also wrote. ‘Liquid State’, like Knights of Cydonia seems written to be a big Live opener, crashing its way to the albums climax 2ND Law. The First part seems like it is scene-setting, an info-dump of narration defining the Second Law of Thermodynamics, with a Cylon-like voice declaring it to be ‘Unsustainable’.
The second part- ‘Isolated System’ end the album on a poignant, downbeat note, being piano-led with a series of overlapping voices.
Overall, it seems to be a bit preachy, the Entropy theme running throughout the album. The best thing I’ve ever seen on this subject is Doctor Who-Logopolis, Tom Baker’s swansong from 1981. While the album is pretty good, the experimental/retro feel isn’t quite their best effort.
I stated in last years ‘Musing on the Music of Muse’ that Haarp was one of the best Live albums I’ve heard. Maybe that is what this needs- a LIVE version, a big stadium experience to boot it up another level.
The 2ND Law by Muse is out now.