Unlike most of the stuff I buy nowadays, this is an album by a fashionable young band who’s members weren’t even born when I started collecting records.
Hullabaloo is a double album, the first disk made up of collection of b-sides, while the second is taken two live concerts at “Le Zenith” in Paris last October.
First, the b-sides collection; as one might expect, it’s an eclectic mix of songs. Numbers like “Shrinking Universe”, “Recess” and “Hyper Chondriac Music” are strongly reminiscent of ‘OK Computer’ era Radiohead, with tortured-sounding vocal, although the surreal slide guitar of the last track echoes some of Steve Howe’s work with Yes. We’ve also got some flamenco-style guitar on “Nature_1″, and the ballad “Shine Acoustic” with it’s haunting melody. Meanwhile “The Gallery”, is an atmospheric instrumental featuring a loop and repeating classical-sounding piano figure. I still haven’t worked out whether the opener, “Forced In” is effect-laden guitar, or a severely effect-treated voice.
If the first disk is the starter, the live disk is the main course. Performing before a loud and enthusiastic French audience, Muse make a big sound for a three-piece, displaying a virtuosity that’s completely out of fashion for British Indie-rock.
The band’s classical influences are strong here, especially the dramatic piano of “Screenager” and “Space Dementia”, the guitar flourish at the end of fast-and-furious opener “Dead Star”, and the guitar solo on “Dark Shines”, which owes nothing whatsoever to three-times removed blues licks. Elsewhere we have almost Floydian epics like “Citizen Erased” and more conventional rockers like “In Your World”. Altogether an amazing combination of energy and virtuosity.