MUSE

(UNITED KINGDOM)

SHOWBIZ

(1999)
LABEL:

MUSHROOM

GENRE:

ALTERNATIVE ROCK

TAGS:
Easy-Listening, Symphonic, Technical, Theatrical
"Showbiz", the debut album from the young band Muse, is a real success and a most promising start, which will be confirmed by further events."
CORTO1809 (24.11.2014)  
4/5
(0) opinions (0) comment(s) (1) Biography + (2)
"Showbiz" is Muse's debut album, the band being at the time far from the worldwide phenomenon it was to become. Muse is the umpteenth name the three young men (all aged 21) from Teignmouth have given themselves, the world having avoided having to worship Carnage Mayhem or Rocket Baby Dolls as they once called themselves. Despite their young age, the three musicians have been playing together for almost ten years and already have a wealth of stage experience behind them.

This probably explains the incredible energy that emanates from this album. Admittedly, Muse aren't the first band to play rock with killer guitar riffs, shattering drum rolls and roaring bass. But they do it with such ardor that the music seems cramped and compressed within the CD, threatening to spill over at any moment.

For those who know the band only from the FM airwaves will certainly be surprised by the roughness of the songs on "Showbiz". Saturated guitars, distorted vocals, feedback effects, high tempos - the album's sound is raw and the music comes on like a punch. At times, the energy is even a little messy, and the band occasionally verge on cacophony (the cataclysmic finale of 'Showbiz', the trashy, noisy 'Sober'). Most of the time, however, Muse dominate their subject matter, making it hard for the listener to resist. 'Muscle Museum', 'Cave' and 'Showbiz' are brilliant examples of the visceral magnetism that emanates from this album.

But it's not all fury, and the band cleverly brings down the adrenalin in calmer moments with a few soothing tracks, at least on the surface. The diverted, confidential blues of 'Falling Down', 'Unitended', a supernatural lullaby and clever counterpoint to the uncontrollable fury of 'Showbiz' which preceded it, 'Escape', a slow song more desperate than languorous, or 'Hate This & I'll Love You', an acoustic ballad (at least at the beginning) which Muse will be sure to on each of its albums, allow the musicians to demonstrate that they know how to catalyze their inner turmoil to good effect.

Finally, it's impossible to talk about Muse without saying a few words about Matthew Bellamy's vocals. Some critics have complained that the resemblance to Thom Yorke (Radiohead) borders on plagiarism. Admittedly, both men don't shy away from high notes and their vocals are generally plaintive, but the resemblance ends there. Bellamy's timbre is higher and his range far more impressive than that of Radiohead's frontman. What's more, the Muse singer doesn't hesitate to indulge in a certain excessiveness, climbing very high in the treble, abusing vibrato and groove, and lingering longer than reasonable on notes stretched to the extreme. It's understandable that his voice and, above all, his technique should not leave anyone indifferent, but you can't take away Matthew Bellamy's vocal skills, or the fact that his voice is an instantly recognizable signature.

For a debut album from a very young band, "Showbiz" is a real success and a most promising start, which the following events will confirm. The album may be rougher and less disciplined than its successors, but it still contains a number of potential hits with infectious energy.
- Official website

TRACK LISTING:
01. Sunburn - 03:54
02. Muscle Museum - 04:24
03. Fillip - 04:00
04. Falling Down - 04:34
05. Cave - 04:46
06. Showbiz - 05:18
07. Unintended - 03:58
08. Uno - 03:38
09. Sober - 04:04
10. Escape - 03:32
11. Overdue - 02:27
12. Hate This & I'll Love You - 05:12

LINEUP:
Christopher Wolstenholme: Basse / Choeurs
Dominic Howard: Batterie
Matthew Bellamy: Chant / Guitares / Claviers
   
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