Tag Archives: Royal Blood

Rocks In The Attic #430: Muse – ‘Showbiz’ (1999)

RITA#430I used to be a big fan of Muse. Right from the first album too – essentially ever since I read in the NME about a guitarist with crazy effects pedals in an up and coming band from Devon. Then I heard Sunburn in a club somewhere and I was hooked. Muse to me sound like the natural progression of Radiohead if they had gone in that direction after The Bends rather than the avant garde bullshit they swapped their guitars for.

I was lucky enough to see Muse touring this album; a mid-afternoon set on the Other Stage at Glastonbury in 2000. I would see them touring the second album too, and then I stupidly overlooked their headlining slot at Glastonbury touring the third album (but that’s another story altogether).

The Radiohead comparisons are inevitable, with this debut record being produced by John Leckie, producer of The Bends. Showbiz – the title song – draws the most comparisons with Radiohead, borrowing the ominous slow-burn they perfected across The Bends and OK Computer.  I remember being stood at festivals when Muse first came out and listening to people trying to pigeon-hole them. “They’re just Radiohead in different clothes.” “Nah, they’re Queen for the 21st century.” Whatever. It’s a shame that when bands come out, they just have to be put into a box. People can’t just accept that a band exists on its own merits. But then once a band is accepted, that band is then used as a comparison for newer bands. “Royal Blood? They’re just Muse mixed with the Black Keys, aren’t they?” Ad infinitum.

The great thing about Muse when they started out is that they were a solid package right from the get-go. If you look at that Glastonbury set from 2000, Matt Bellamy has all the vocal histrionics down pat. This wasn’t something he developed over time (like Chris Martin’s woeful hopping on one leg holding his ribcage with one arm). It was also nice to see Bellamy dive into the drum kit, hanging onto bass player Christopher Wolstenholme’s back, at the end of the set too. It was things like this that made me sit up and realise that rock and roll was coming back, after a few years anxiously waiting for Britpop to go through its final death rattles.

Hit:  Unintended

Hidden Gem: Fillip

Rocks In The Attic #376: Royal Blood – ‘Royal Blood’ (2014)

RITA#376Lord knows how they manage to get as much sound out of just a bass guitar and a drum kit, but all respect to them. Less is more, obviously. They also seem to be bringing cool back to podgy white males in leather jackets and baseball caps.

I don’t get to listen to much contemporary music these days, but this made such a noise in 2014 that I couldn’t resist it. It made a couple of ‘best album of the year’ lists, and that’s good enough for me. Thankfully I don’t have the time to wade through new releases looking for good material anymore; I’m happy enough to just take some recommendations at the end of the year. That means I can spend the rest of the time listening to Credence and Steely Dan.

As much as I like this album, I don’t really know what they’re going to do next. Another album of this could get very tired very soon. Either they’ll fill their sound out on album number two alongside a hotshot producer, like the Black Keys’ work with Danger Mouse, or they’ll do something else entirely. Who knows? The music press need to stop labelling them as the saviours of British rock though – nobody needs that kind of pressure.

Hit: Figure It Out

Hidden Gem: Careless