Muse – Drones

What exactly is this thing called Muse, or more precisely, what has it become?

Listening to seventh album Drones, it is difficult to equate the monolithic, bloated conceit that is Muse 2015 with the fair to middling Radiohead copyists that delivered debut album Showbiz back in 1999. Back then, nobody would have predicted that they would become Britain’s biggest rock band during the ensuing decade, or that they would achieve this by a dogged and relentless adherence to an unashamedly bombastic approach to making music.

Bigger, more gaudy, more hysterical – each Muse album seems to be an attempt to outdo the last on the scale of sheer ridiculousness.  It is CGI rock music, the pyrotechnics of the latest blockbuster summer movie, wrapped up in Matt Bellamy’s shrieking falsetto, portentous lyrics, quasi metal guitar riffs and massed choral voices.

Drones delivers all of this in spades – lead single ‘Dead Inside’ has that satisfying ring of familiarity that will instantly re-connect fans with their trademark sound.  It has been mooted that Drones would mark a back to basics approach for Muse, an amusing notion once you have subjected yourself to the heavy artillery of tracks like ‘Drill Sergeant’, ‘Psycho’ and ‘Reapers’.

Muse are just too far gone at this stage, too far removed from the idea of being just a band, shorn of the spectacle, the lights, the explosions, the constant hunger to become bigger, louder, more pompous.

By the time we get to ‘Revolt’ the whole thing is beginning to wear thin;  Bellamy’s exhortations that “you can make this world what you want, you can revolt” has a certain comedic value, an entirely unintentional side effect given Bellamy’s po-faced proclamations in interviews regarding the profound themes of the album.

The legions of Muse drones will find much here to satisfy what only the Muse brand can satisfy; this is rock music at its most bloated, groaning under the weight of its own self importance.

2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)