Muse is big in the UK. Really big. The trio just played high up on the bill on the main stage at the Reading and Leeds festivals this past week to huge crowds. To satiate this large fan following, the band wanted to release something to tide the fans over, as they are currently between albums. Last year brought the prog-leaning Radioheadisms of Origin Of Symmetry and next year is to bring the band's third album, one frontman Matt Bellamy said will sound completely different as he is now very happy and in love. Awww. In the meantime, they've released Hullabaloo, a double CD and a separate DVD (as a side note to the band's popularity, the DVD was released for the first weekend as a theatre-style film and was shown all over the country). The first CD is a B-sides compilation, culled from singles off both of the band's first two albums, the aforementioned Origin and their lone US release, their 1999 debut, Showbiz. Being a Muse completist, I already had all 10 of the B-sides, but the true find in the collection is the 11-track live show, recorded over two days last fall in Paris. Let me say this one thing: it sounds like Parisians really like them some Muse, if you know what I mean. The live portion is primarily comprised of the band's sophomore effort, focusing in on the almost rock-opera feel to the musical arrangements, which strangely makes sense paired with Bellamy's operatic range, one of the most incredible voices in rock. Hullabaloo also strays away from the band's hits, for the most part, only including "Showbiz," "Muscle Museum," and latest single "In Your World," which is the sole new track rearing its head in the 2CD set. Regardless, this live CD catches the pure live mayhem and passion that is Muse live, and, sadly, is about the closest we'll get to hearing them live on these shores anytime soon.
JEREMY P. GOLDSTEIN