“Drones” nearly abolishes the pretentiousness that Muse can be attributed to as of late. Whilst “2nd Law” and “Resistance” were an attempt at being experimental within their mainstream success, they managed to return to a familiar, and their most successful, riff orientated style, whilst only gently delving into the quasi-progressive rock that makes them so exceptional. The classical influences takes a back seat, only piping up towards the end, and in summary, it is a return to form.
Songs like ‘Psycho’ and ‘Reapers’ show Muse‘s cleverness in simplicity. Instead of extravagant interplay and a wide array of genres coalescing into one steaming pile of pretentious drivel; Muse re-explore simplified riffs, with subtle additions in the background, which allows them to focus on better melodies and a higher degree of entertainment.
There’s a few odd lyrical additions (“You’re ass belongs to me”) but generally in the song they make sense; at the least they show Muse‘s humorous side. The desire to explore their boundaries does not disappear entirely also; the title track is seemingly performed by a Church choir and, whilst displays great vocal talent, it’s definitely one that may divide fans. The preceding song ‘The Globalist’, however, is a huge 10 minute epic that incorporates all the bright, and the dark, influences to Muse. It is definitely the most interesting track on the album, and whilst you likely won’t be hearing it on Radio One anytime soon, it should definitely be appreciated.
Given their mainstream success, it’s good to see Muse still willing to explore their horizons. However, they are clever enough to know now, what works and what doesn’t. “Drones” is by no means their best work, but it shows their return to their own muse.
Verdict 7/10 – It’s good to hear them back.