Adrian Cooper has been unwell

Old reviews that are no longer available online, or from sites that no longer exist. The pen is dead, long live the camera.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Skunk Anansie, Muse
Newport Centre

Muse skip out, shower us with confetti and break into a spontaneous Spike Milligan routine. Except that they don’t, for as you all know, Muse are the new Radiohead, and therefore are a bit gloomy, a hint doomy, a tad moody, and quite possibly a touch broody as well. Fortunately, while the likes of Mansun strop about in the shadows, pouting at their reflections and smudging their eyeliner, Muse know the difference between heady angst and sticking their head up their arse, even if drummer Dominic Howard’s hair does look suspiciously like it’s been styled by Nicky Clarke’s rectal cavity. ‘Muscle Museum’ grinds together grunge dynamics and art-school theatrics, and Matthew Bellamy does his skinny white boy guitar hero thing while ‘Fillip’ dishes out the sort of sonic dissonance that would leave Brian Molko gagging in awe, all howled falsettos and jagged Stooges riffs.

Like epic shoe-gazing survivors Inner Sleeve possessed by Strangelove’s forlorn spirit, Muse are the proof that there is a more cerebral alternative to the dull and dour Britrock which has recently found itself in the ascendancy, and shows that, when given the opportunity, Radio 1 Evening Session fodder indie can occasionally grow up to be taut, edgy and doused in emotion without lurching into either mediocrity or MOR territory.

Unfortunately, Skunk Anansie soon bludgeon all such ideas into the ground, as Skin jumps about like Bez with in-growing toe-nails and Ace churns out his tepid proto-metal schlock-horror guitar blasts. If you could hold her still for long enough, and look further than that voice, you would find that Skin is little more Andi Peters in big boots, pushing yet more cock-rock bollocks (if you’ll excuse the patriarchal language bias) down the throats of a room full of pubescent girls so desperate for someone to worship that they can’t see the glaringly obvious flaws right in front of them.