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Muse: Drones

More punch than pomp: Teignmouth titans roar back to basics.

Muse perhaps plateaued with 2012’s The 2nd Law, which gave equal billing to their trump cards of riff-tastic rock, Prince-like electro-funk, manic dystopian visions and falsetto hysteria.

For their seventh sojourn, they’ve teamed up in Vancouver with uber-producer Robert John ‘Mutt’ Lange (AC/DC, Def Leppard). Drones, like a palate refresher, cuts straight to the riffs: Matt Bellamy blasts into staccato shocks early on and rarely lets up. The heat-seeking jabs are both glam and guttural. Only later do the taut trio flex into their Queen-influenced operatics – on The Globalist, a symphony of Morricone-mounting melodrama concerning the world’s end, and the a capella barbershop of the title track. Prior to this, there have been the usual ‘resist The Man’ political slogans about psychopaths and ‘dark forces’, a JFK speech and what sounds like an excerpt from Full Metal Jacket. The sleeve is a Hipgnosis knock-off, and ambiguity is rarely allowed out of its box. And yet, while Muse may never woo the sceptical, they shoot their essentially right-minded messages to millions, with fire in their belly and a steely gleam in their eye. Proof that a band can be both big and bold.