Spin doc­tor

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Iain Shed­den

DIS­AS­TER struck the Spin Doc­tor nerve cen­tre this week with the news that English rock band Muse is be­ing sued for $US3.5 mil­lion ($3.3m) on the ba­sis that its song cy­cle was ripped off from a rock opera of the same name by Amer­i­can com­poser Charles Boll­frass. What’s up­set­ting is that SD has spent sev­eral months work­ing on just such a rock opera, one that, by a weird co­in­ci­dence, is based like Boll­frass’s on ‘‘hu­man­ity’s im­pend­ing doom as the planet breaks down, and the ex­plo­ration of space to spread hu­man life to new plan­ets’’, to bor­row from his syn­op­sis. Amaz­ing that two peo­ple could come up with such a bril­liant idea com­pletely in­de­pen­dent of one an­other. Muse fans will be all too aware that the group re­leased its al­bum in 2009, on which are the tracks and all penned by gui­tarist Matthew Bel­lamy. The al­bum’s liner notes de­scribe the tril­ogy as ‘‘a story of hu­man­ity com­ing to an end and ev­ery­one pin­ning their hopes on a group of as­tro­nauts who go out to ex­plore space and spread hu­man­ity to an­other planet. Part 1 is a jaded ac­cep­tance that civil­i­sa­tion will end. Part 2 is a des­per­ate hope that send­ing the as­tro­nauts to find and pop­u­late other plan­ets will be suc­cess­ful along­side the recog­ni­tion that this is the last hope. Fi­nally, Part 3 is when the as­tro­nauts re­alise that it is just one big cy­cle, and recog­nise that un­less hu­man­ity can change it will hap­pen all over again.’’ Might have been worth SD read­ing those at the time. Who­ever of the two par­ties is in the right, the sci-fi idea has had to be ditched here at SDHQ and the project will be hastily re­worked as a surf mu­si­cal based on the premise of a great white shark be­ing washed up in a shop­ping mall by a tsunami. At least no one else will be crazy enough to come up with that sto­ry­line. ROBERT Forster, who has been ly­ing low from the de­mands of the stage for a while, has an­nounced his re­turn for per­for­mances in Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber. The Bris­bane-based for­mer Go-Be­tween will be plow­ing the depths of his con­sid­er­able back cat­a­logue of solo al­bums on the tour, which be­gins in his home city on Oc­to­ber 23. We hear the singer, who earned ac­claim for his col­umn in dur­ing and be­fore his ab­sence from per­form­ing, will pep­per his set with ma­te­rial ‘‘old, re­cent, bor­rowed and new’’, al­though there’s no men­tion yet of a new al­bum. SOUL diva Macy Gray rolls into Aus­tralia this week­end for a se­ries of shows to pro­mote her al­bum of cov­ers, on which she in­ter­prets the work of Ra­dio­head and Ar­cade Fire, among oth­ers. The Grammy-win­ning singer is mak­ing a habit of re­work­ing other peo­ple’s ma­te­rial this year. Next month, to mark the 40th an­niver­sary of Ste­vie Won­der’s

Gray is re­leas­ing her ver­sion of the al­bum, which fea­tures the clas­sic tracks

and Gray de­scribes as ‘‘one of my top five al­bums of all time’’. With that in mind, Gray will be go­ing on the road to per­form it in the US once she’s done with Aus­tralia. And it’s not just with mu­sic that Gray, whose hits in­clude and

all from the land­mark al­bum has been keep­ing her­self oc­cu­pied. She also ap­pears in — and nar­rates — Lee Daniels’s film which made its de­but at the Cannes film fes­ti­val and stars Ni­cole Kid­man, Zac Efron and John Cu­sack. MARC Bolan died on Septem­ber 16, 1977. He made some sublime pop records.

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