Absolution

When Radiohead began to explore electronic textures on Kid A, it fell to upstart U.K. bands such as Coldplay, Travis, Starsailor and Muse to provide the world with disconsolate, Pink Floyd-worthy guitar rock. So give Muse, from the English town of Teignmouth, some credit for adopting Radiohead's bombastic Bends approach and adding prog-rock-style instrumental virtuosity. "Apocalypse Please," the turbulent opening cut, is stitched with almost Liberace-esque piano pounding and fluttering guitar arpeggios. It's too bad that vocalist Matt Bellamy doesn't bring as much ingenuity to his singing — on brooding, quiet tunes such as "Ruled by Secrecy," it's as if Thom Yorke and Jeff Buckley are the only singers he's ever heard.

x