Muse: Drones (Warner Bros)

Muse: Drones (Warner Bros)

For Muse, it turns out that space was anything but the final frontier. Recent albums may have seen Matt Bellamy and co boldly go forth into full-on interstellar prog rock opera mode, but Drones sees them returning to the earth’s orbit. It’s all relative of course – only a band who once conjured the epically bonkers Knights Of Cydonia might consider the 10-minute long, Ennio-Morricone-goes-space-rock of The Globalist, or the full-on choral explosion of the title track, to be somewhat stripped down affairs. But the likes of Reapers and Psycho’s Marc-Bolan-on-steroids strut (complete with scary drill sergeant dialogue), buffed up superbly by über-producer Mutt Lange, rock more directly than Muse have for some time – they even managed to triumph at this summer’s Download festival, despite some initial complaints they weren’t heavy enough to headline. Aftermath even offers a rare (and rather touching) Muse ballad, while lyrically, more earthbound concerns also dominate – chiefly, the use of machines to disengage people from the horrors of modern life, although it’s also possible to construct a very human break-up narrative from songs such as Dead Inside. But, however you choose to interpret Matt Bellamy’s intent, Drones proves it will take a lot more than gravity to hold Muse down.

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