Muse have been one of those bands that divide opinion, especially amongst their own fanbase. With absolute classic albums such as Absolution and Black Holes and Revelations in their back catalogue, but other albums such as The 2nd Law and The Resistance which certainly proved less popular due to their experimental nature.
So it was with trepidation but also anticipation that I listened to Drones and I’m happy to report that Muse certainly have brought their A-game.
Muse will never do a heavy rock album, its not their style nor are they particularly know for it in regards to the bigger picture but with songs such as Psycho, The Handler and Reapers I absolutely think they could pull it off, no question. These are angry, snarling songs that scream angst but in a way which deliver the narrative of the album, not in a whiny, teenage emo way.
Speaking of which, there is a fairly open narrative to the album and while its terribly clichéd and very Muse, what with their whole alternative, sci-fi, apocalypse shtick which again does split opinion, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt this time, due to how kick-ass the songs are.
When the album finally calms down, it goes into the other side of Muse, the eclectic, experimental bohemians. The best of this lot by far is Defector which is heavily inspired by Queen and it unashamedly shouts it from the rooftops. The final 3 songs show this side of Muse off the best, although with varying degrees of quality.
Aftermath shows the bands range and is a nice change of pace when listening on a full run but the song Drones is just utterly bizarre. It’s a nice album closer but very strange nonetheless as the group go all acapella on us.
The meaty 10 minute epic The Globalist is the album standout however. Its one of those songs that could be the final song on Guitar Hero. Its absolutely not in a rush and takes its time, but is an incredibly well crafted piece of music and may very well have started as numerous songs and have been shifted into one behemoth, it works but yet I still feel as if I need to ask if fans really want this side of Muse?
This is easily Muse’s best album since Black Holes & Revelations. Discounting Drones, there are no ‘bad’ songs on this album and each one brings their own value. The over arching political and neo-sci fi themes do start to get tiresome however and seems something Muse want to continually push.
I love the aggressiveness and punchiness of this album and Muse have confined their experimental side to the final 1/3 which not only helps the narrative of the album, but drive a really depth and meaning, urging you to go back from the beginning and really listen to the lyrics, knowing what’s coming later on.
Overall, this is a good album and is absolutely worth a listen, and in a time where mainstream rock albums are few and far between, this is right on point.