We have a theory called the Ruse of Muse: batter your bat-shit theories in enough loud guitars, distract people with cacophonous psycho-babble, sell millions of records. That can really be the only explanation for an outing as ridiculous as The 2nd Law, and Matt Bellamy’s subsequently healthy bank balance.
Surprise surprise, Drones follows the same suit, albeit in a manner so unsubtle that the lever on the front cover might as well be replaced with a sledgehammer that has GOVERNMENTS ARE BAD written on it. And just in case the stadium-sized lad-rock audience misses that reference and the morbidly obvious sleeve, there are two military interludes that drill the point home.
The thing is, it starts off well. Bellamy has never sounded better in the glam-rock surroundings of Dead Inside, channelling his best Bono as the song goes on. But punctuating “man is just a program” Psycho with drill sergeant bellowing? No thanks.
A softer Muse has always been preferable in our book, especially once that balances a more radio-friendly approach like Mercy and make those abnormally heavy guitars easier to tolerate. But every song like that there’s a descent into a Queen-like Defector, or a 10-minute exercise in self-indulgence called The Globalist. By the end of it, Drones feels like a collection of just that, with Matt Bellamy’s perverse proselytising the endless hum you just can’t seem to switch off.
Drones by Muse can be ordered here.