WB Records and Helium-3 (label)
08 June 2015 (released)
27 June 2015
Rock veterans Muse need no introduction. Since their formation in 1994, the band has spawned seven albums, the latest, Drones, being released but a couple of weeks ago.
The first impression is that it’s not even worth a penny…after a few spins however, it can surprise. Initially a rollercoaster of ups and downs, just like Muse’s career – an alternating sequence of WTFs and “wait, that’s good” – the record needs some listens before it can be fully digested.
This time around, Muse distance themselves from the electronic sound which had characterised their last material, initiating a U-turn towards their roots. Definitely heavier than the previous effort, Drones is a little achievement that is rarely seen these days. In spite of the different influences which still shape the band’s work, this album manages to keep cohesion throughout and, while it has a somewhat weak start, it’s one of those records that grows on you the more you listen to it.
Muse take listeners on a journey from the desperation, anger and rebellion vented out in the first section, to the calm, ecstatic, reconciled or subdued vision described and expressed in the songs that constitute the ending part of Drones.
Nothing new is on the horizon – the trio’s musical talent is evident and reinstated – nearly sparking indignant outbursts for their being repetitive and not so much inventive any more. The lyrics are also more than often easy to be scoffed at – take Psycho for instance, Bellamy sings “your ass belongs to me now”, a line which would fit more in a dodgy porn movie script. Little matters that it has a specific purpose and that it is connected to the main theme of the record, it just doesn’t sound cool.
The chorus in Reapers seems to have been sampled on Madness, The Globalist reminisces Knights of Cydonia – we’ve seen it all before. It is nonetheless what Muse have learnt to do best – Bellamy’s falsetto, hard-rocking and powerful guitar solos, pumping bass chords, building-up hammering rhythms, keyboards and piano suites will all be there.
With Drones, the band resorted again to a concept album which doesn’t explore much but rests on the comforting signature sound they have become known for. A stadium-filler, yet a bold attempt and by all means enjoyable.