Page last updated at 08:14 GMT, Thursday, 17 September 2009 09:14 UK

Muse venture beyond the black hole

Muse: (l-r) Chris Wolstenholme, Matt Bellamy and Dom Howard

By Tim Masters
Entertainment correspondent, BBC News

Glam rock... Chopin... crooning... and an orchestral voyage into space.

Welcome to The Resistance, the new album from Muse that looks poised to top the UK album chart this weekend.

The follow-up to 2006's Black Holes and Revelations sees Muse blending their stadium rock sound with classical music and opera.

Dom Howard talks Vera Lynn and James Bond

And drummer Dom Howard hints the new songs are likely to wow audiences on the Muse autumn tour.

"I'm going to be playing the drums three metres up in the air - it'll be pretty scary up there," says Howard as he reveals details of the band's ambitious live plans.

"We'll be on these three pillars moving up and down.

"We've always wanted to do something more theatrical than we have in the past.

"When we played at Wembley Stadium we had these acrobats on balloons, and it made everyone look at them and not at us, so we felt a little bit relaxed, so we're going to try an incorporate a few performers."

Howard also reveals that the stage show might contain an additional level of drama.

"There might be a loose narrative that we're trapped in some kind of institution and we're trying to break out of it," he says. "It's going to look impressive."

Sci-fi fantasy

Muse have twice been voted Britain's best live act at the Brit awards - but bringing some of their new material to the live arena will be a challenge.

Muse Matt Bellamy
Muse have a reputation for impressive stage shows

One of the biggest talking points of The Resistance is the three-part symphony Exogenesis that closes the album.

Over 13 minutes it features a 40-piece orchestra, scaling synths, mournful piano and Matt Bellamy's trademark falsetto.

But what's it all about?

"It's like a sci-fi fantasy," explains Howard.

"Exogenesis is about pinning our hopes on a few people - or astronauts - to leave this planet and find a new place to populate and start a new civilisation.

"It's certainly an ambitious piece of music - it's very classical sounding. There's lots of strings and brass and timpani. It was quite hard to do because we had to change the way we approached normal song writing."

Howard admits it will be a challenge to play live.

"Since the last album we've had a fourth person on stage playing keyboards. That helps a great deal with instrumentation.

"But it would be nice to incorporate some real strings into the shows. Exogenesis is definitely going to be a a big moment in the set.

Because it's quite a quiet song we want a really cool piece of film that takes you on a journey..."

Muse

Another key track on the album - United States of Eurasia - has drawn comparisons to classic Queen. Was that something that was quite deliberate?

"I guess people have thought it sounds a bit like Queen, particularly that big chord and the big harmonies," says Howard.

"When we did that in the studio we laughed a lot because it was so uplifting. It's a real chest out, hand in the air moment in the song.

He adds: "A lot of the recording process made us laugh - and that was one of those when we chuckled a lot, and we still do even when we play it live."

The Resistance by Muse is out now. Muse tour the UK throughout November.



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