When presented with instrumental music described as progressive rock and lauded by Internet as "great," one becomes immediately skeptical. Is this yet another band that's fallen headfirst into the gears of the mindless Internet praise machine or is this something that's actually worth a listen to? With the endless amount of instru-metal bands floating around out there on the Internet, it's so easy to get jaded with the genre in an extremely short amount of time. Fortunately, Polyphia stands head and shoulders above their contemporaries in what I can only describe as instrumental progressive rock that sounds like Michael Jackson and Nobuo Uematsu got together to write a sexy Final Fantasy soundtrack that doubles as baby makin' jams… or the music to the end of a perfect day under a setting sun. It depends on your mood and company, I suppose.
Polyphia has two speeds on Muse: songs that are going to make you feel introspective and romantic and songs that are going to make you wish you could play along with them because they're just so damn funky. The former takes one a pretty wide range of emotions, from the soaring "87" to the melancholy and clouded-eyes-toward-the-horizon styles of "Memory" and "Mood Swing." These songs are pretty strategically placed all throughout the album to break up an otherwise upbeat listen, knocking the listener back down to Earth if only for a moment to prove that the band's writing style can easily paint a picture in your mind if they chose to do so.
Then, with the latter in the above explanation, you've got songs like "Champagne" and "James Franco," which draw the Michael Jackson comparison. The songs are just unbelievably groovy in the most non-stereotypical way you can think of. Remember the upbeat, shuffle-laden type songs from games like Sonic way back when? Think of these songs like that with the most unbelievable melodies you're going to be shocked nobody has thought of up until this point. These are going are going to be stuck in your head and you will be humming them in public, more than likely also dancing like an idiot in some form or another.
Muse also has some killer guest guitar solos, ranging from Disperse's Jakub Żytecki to Intervals' Aaron Marshall an just about everyone in between. It's worth noting it was a smart move on the band's part not to load up every song with guest solos, or any solos at all sometimes, to avoid having a finished product that reads less like a coherent work and more like a slate for musical masturbation.
Basically, if you're looking for some really great instrumental music that stays away from the pitfalls of modern instrumental metal and will not be leaving your rotation anytime soon, grab Muse. Or if you're looking for a few songs to hum madly to yourself throughout your daily life because they simply will not leave your head… again, this album right here. Get it.