Concentrate on a tale worth droning about

by Gazette Reporter
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SEVEN albums in, and the album-tour-album tour treadmill has not abated the fondness of the absurd for Muse, the trio from Devon.
The recurring themes of paranoia, post apocalyptic survival and the destruction of the human race by technology surface again here on the latest long player by Muse, Drones (Warner Brothers).
Never one to follow the traditional song-writing blueprint, chief songwriter Matt Bellamy intertwines savage solo, over-the-top falsetto and bombastic breakdown while navigating the central concept which is, according to Bellamy himself, “sci-fi dystopia about a vulnerable protagonist being brainwashed and drafted into the military before defecting and inspiring others to revolt, emerging heroic at the end”.
With veteran rock hit-maker John “Mutt” Lange (everyone from AC/DC, Def Leppard and Shania Twain) overseeing the production duties, the sound is big, clean and directed towards the back of enormodomes worldwide.
It is this approach from the producer which has returned the band to their “basics” in dynamics of a power trio – however, they still display their technical wizardry with sonic soundscapes, but in a more concentrated way compared to their previous record, The Second Law.
The swamp rock swing of Psycho is classic Muse, with enough empty spaces to let the song envelop the listener, and a slight nod to Marilyn Manson of the 1990s.
“Show me mercy from the powers that be” wails Bellamy, backed by a rhythm section in overdrive feeding the neurosis of his imagination.
The relentlessness of the album doesn’t let up until the track Aftermath in true concept album style, with echoes of Pink Floyd’s The Wall seeping through.
Elsewhere, tracks such as The Handler, Defector and Revolt provide the anthemic operatics we’ve become accustomed to from a Muse album.
The Globalist is a straightforward pop tune with a catchy chorus and a dark undertone luring the listener into a false sense of security.
Overblown concept albums are, by many standards, a difficult listen – especially in the world of a la carte music purchasing and selecting – but there’s more than enough here to suck you in and offer yourself to the madness and paranoia of Drones.

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