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Love Letter To A Record: MONATOMIC’s Tarran Webster On Muse’s ‘The Resistance’

Written by Emmy Mack on April 9, 2019

Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.

In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.

Tarran Webster, MONATOMIC – Muse, The Resistance

What surprised me most of all about this album was that my bandmate Steff actually liked it. For as long as I could remember we had barely agreed on anything musical, let alone something as heavy as ‘Uprising’. For the longest time our musical relationship boiled down to an argument about what “real music” was, and we never seemed to get to the bottom of whether it was Lady Gaga or some obscure Detroit garage rock band. When I first heard The Resistance, I was ready for the same-old same-old. When he told me he loved it too I did a double-take – the amount of artists we both actually liked could be counted on the one hand of a retired polar explorer who’d been unlucky with frostbite. ‘Uprising’ became our joint favourite anthem that we would blast out of the car, windows down of course. We knew it back to front, belting out our respective harmony parts that we’d developed over hundreds of listens. This experience is still with us and inspires us even now, it’s what our new single ‘They’re Playing My Song’ is really all about; in the car with your best mate doing your own version of carpool karaoke to a song that you feel like you own a piece of – even though it isn’t yours.

This was one of those special albums that turned my whole perception of an artist upside down overnight. One day the name Muse is vaguely familiar, the next I was so captivated that all who dare not match my obsession would trigger a spell of arrogant adolescent fury “WHO IS MUSE! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU (eye roll)”. Of course, by 2009, Muse were hardly strangers to anyone. However, at 14 years old, I can say that I only really knew them in passing; whether it was from the stack of CDs in my older brother’s bedroom, or the song they had on Guitar Hero, or that one time that a kid from our school decided to play Knights of Cydonia on his air guitar at the talent contest. While their prior work contains enough genius to make any artist green with envy, it was their 5th studio album that would instil lifelong fandom and give MONATOMIC that piece of common ground to keep us (almost) sane.

I love this album so much it’s hard to even know where to start…… is what I’d say if I wasn’t a bass player, but I am so let’s get into it. If there was a Nobel prize for contribution to the low frequencies it would go to Chris Wolstenholme. From the thunderous fuzz of ‘Uprising’ to the crystal-clean slap of ‘Undisclosed Desires’, The Resistance contains some of the greatest bass riffs of all time, past, present and future (probably). What blew my mind even more though was the production, how on earth do you combine rock, orchestras, monstrous acoustic drums, delicate RnB snaps, Matt Bellamy’s signature theatrical falsetto AND synths inspired by cheesy 60’s sci-fi in the one album? Who knows, but Muse did it. Whenever anyone asks us “so what kind of music does MONATOMIC play?” the response always is a bit convoluted “pop, rock, indie, electro….dance?” and I’m inclined to blame Muse for this. The Resistance was the album that made me wanna move into music production, the album that made me hungry to crack the code of instrumental layering and I pretty much abandoned the idea of sticking to one instrument right then and there. Good thing too, because Steff and I really like to make a bit of a racket for just two people.

Sydney-based indie-pop duo Monatomic’s infectious, energetic new party-starter ‘They’re Playing My Song’ is out now! Listen below.

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