I have a confession to make. I’ve inadvertently missed Muse’s debut album Showbiz, which is unfortunate because I can imagine re-exploring their 1999 release – famed for its Radiohead comparisons – would be interesting. Instead I’ll have to make do with their 2001 sophomore Origins of Symmetry, which in turn is famed for its unashamed originality and near alien guitar playing.
Purchased from a Camden market stall, my copy has a worn down sticker that proudly proclaims Best British Band at Kerrang!’s award ceremony of the same year. Over time that accolade has been reattributed to Muse more times than I can count on my fingers. On the other hand their sound has made a subtle retreat into something quite different from the hysterical operatic of Origins of Symmetry.
Muse’s intent is clear as soon as opener and classic single “New Born” juggles in with circus flair before exploding into a mass of riffs and hard cutting bass. They’re here to make sure Orange Country knows where Teignmouth is. No not really. Though that was a consequence of their divine takeover, what Origins of Symmetry really sets out to do is install a consuming yet life affirming frenzy in its audience. I can’t pretend Origins of Symmetry made a huge impact on my taste in music, but equally I can’t imagine what I’d be like if it never existed. Probably hollow inside.
It’s no wonder the world bowed to Muse’s greatness, but should you ever come to doubt their majestic title of intergalactic champions, you need look no further than this album. With “Hyper Music”, their cover of “Feeling Good” and notorious breakthrough “Plug in Baby” also included alongside fan favourites “Dark Shines”, “Citizen Erased” and “Bliss”, Origins of Symmetry is not only testament to Muse’s deafening superiority; it’s a greatest hits in itself.