Muse, Drones, review: 'more than a little Spinal Tap'

June 7th, 2015 | by staff
Muse, Drones, review: 'more than a little Spinal Tap'
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Muse's lead singer Matt Bellamy performing in California, May 2015

Muse’s lead singer Matt Bellamy performing in California, May 2015 Photo: Invision

There has been talk of Muse going back to basics for their seventh album but when you are a new generation progressive rock trio with roots in Britpop, glam, electro, heavy metal, opera and classical music, basic is a relative term.

Drones is a fast moving, full blown sci-fi concept album tackling notions of the human race enslaving itself with technology, managing to take its protagonist from a broken heart to World War III in just 52 minutes of playing time.

With veteran Def Leppard producer Mutt Lange at the controls, the sound is hard and polished, with taut riffs slamming home over pile-driving drum and bass whilst huge melodies soar above cinematic keyboards. The lyrics are comically ridiculous, chief songwriter Matt Bellamy wrapping his tender falsetto around lumpen phrases like “you can build a nuclear power / transform the earth to your desire.” Amidst skyscraping Queen harmonies and portentous Pink Floyd melodrama there are sensitive touches, with some elegant, slow-unfurling lead guitar reminiscent of Dire Straits. It all concludes with a choral hymn about being killed by drones. It’s more than a little Spinal Tap, but if I was a teenage boy this is exactly the kind of thrilling madness that might turn me on to a moribund genre.

Download this: Dead Inside

Drones is out now on Warners / Helium

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