Muse is a UK band that has become popular in the States in the past three years even though they have been making music since the early 90’s. Showbiz is their debut album and while it might not be their best work, there are still some killer songs here. Also, this album is great for introducing the listener to Matt Bellamy’s Heaven sent vocals. They will really blow you away.
The beautiful and epic “Sunburn” opens the album. It starts with a lovely piano intro followed by Matt Bellamy softly crooning before he opens the floodgates of his vocals. His singing grows louder and he even gives the listener a taste of his falsetto chops. There’s also a face melting guitar solo that races so fast that you worry Matt’s hands are on fire. It then ends with the beautiful piano solo again. This is one of the best if not the best song on the album.
Another great song is “Showbiz.” It’s a dark track that seems to talk about the manipulation of show business. It begins with a low, menacing drum beat that creates tension in the song. The singing starts out low and vulnerable as Matt keeps repeating “controlling my feelings for too long.” Shortly afterward everything in the song keeps building up louder and louder until the music and the vocals explode in a chaos of aggression and frustration that has Bellamy screeching by the song’s end. It’s a really great track that shows off the band’s musical abilities and Matt’s unearthly voice.
I can’t mention enough how fantastic the vocals are. They’re difficult to describe in words, but I’ll do my best. Matt sounds as if he’s from another world when he sings. The way he holds notes when he goes up really high will send shivers down your spine and will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand straight up. His range is very impressive. He can go from singing low and soft to loud and trilling in less than a second. His vocals are best on display on the track “Falling Down.” When Matt hits those first notes it will make you stop in your tracks. It’s so beautiful and amazing. While the vocals are great they are not as strong as they are on the later albums. On the later albums he has better control of his vocals and his voice is much stronger. Here it sounds like he’s getting use to his amazing voice. Either way the vocals will manage to capture you.
Besides the vocals the music is amazing too. There are energetic guitar solos, smooth bass grooves and steady, powerful drum beats. At times it’s aggressive, other times it’s as soft as a lullaby. And the way Bellamy plays the guitar will leave you wondering what he’s doing to the instrument to get those sounds. Another thing that’s interesting about the music on this album is that they use elements from different genres of music. “ Falling Down” and “Unintended” have a blues feeling to it while mixing the twang of country music. “Uno” and “Muscle Museum” both have a hint of Latin flavor to them that makes these tracks exciting. You can even hear the influence of Nirvana in some songs. The latter song mentioned above plays on the loud/quiet/loud technique that Nirvana is so well known for. The slower track “Unintended” even manages to sound like a sad lullaby. The way Muse mixes these genres gives them their unique sound for this album.
Overall the album gets 8/10. It’s not their best work when compared to their later albums, but it’s damn good. All of the songs are great and filled with tones of aggression, vulnerability, frustration, and love. Matt Bellamy’s vocals are breathtaking and will take away to another far out land. The music is great as well with energetic, distorted guitar solos that will leave you in wonder. Muse is a band that is highly underrated in the US. The band is amazing and deserves more recognition. Bellamy’s talent needs to be appreciated for his vocals and guitar playing. This band is truly amazing.