Thursday, June 4, 2015
While the harmony vocals that sweep in to greet you from the album's onset, feel like Def Leppard taking a dip into dance music, you can't deny Matt Bellamy's voice and the rest of the band's talent. I once was a big fan of the band earlier in their career, but some of their pop antics began to turn me off to them, but I have always respected them and adhere to the fact they are one of the few decent bands on modern rock radio.Here the idea's are being spread thinner like 80s Cheap Trick, as it seems like you have almost already heard them play the kind of groove that moves "Psycho". Little tricks on the chorus sound like something Queens of the Stoneage would do.
Fuzzed out bass throw against piano and Bellamy's pleading vocal is nothing new for the band, they do pull it off with more gusto than some like Coldplay can. "Mercy" has a big chorus, but not enough meat on it's bone to support it. They wait til "Reapers " to rock out which opens with Van Halen shredding and goes into a Police like funk set against more 80s rock. I like the balance of their new electronic side with the rock of old on "The Handler". Bellamy's voice sounds great here and the song has a dark current flowing in between the lines. The keep rocking on "Defector". The break down on the second verse is as formulaic as the chorus , but even when they are working of formula it still works out better than most bands good days. There is still an element to the melodies and lyrics that feel a little dialed in. The vocal line to the opening verse of "Revolt" sounds more genuine. Unfortunately the chorus doesn't live up to the initial tone set. The vocals are well produced and the entire album has an immaculate mix, its just dumbed down radio fodder.
The ease into the ballad like "Aftermath". The vocals continue to excel, but he doesn't give himself anything interesting to do and plays it too safe. The guitar is smooth and tasteful, but it's typical power ballad. In someways it reminds me of something that would be on one of Brain May's solo albums. The guitar tone on "the Globalist" is cool and reverb heavy. But this turns into another U2 like ballad, until the heavier section bursts out midway through. This doesn't come as a dynamic surprise as the bass line really telegraphs it. The Bohemian Rhapsody like ebb back to the piano at the end of the song really doesn't feel like it is adding a helluva a lot.
They wrap things out with the choral title track, that finds overdubbed harmonies wrapping around one another. While an impressive display of vocal power, if I wanted that sort of thing I would have listened to something by composer John Adams. I'll give it a 7 as it has its moments as a sonic spectacle even at its worst and at best there are a few songs I like but don't feel the need to have them on the old iPod.