Muse vowed to return to their stripped-down rock-and-roll roots with their seventh album, Drones. While the band does leave some of the EDM elements of their recent music behind, Drones doesn’t quite qualify as undiluted garage rock. With lead singer Matthew Bellamy’s theatrical and vibrato-heavy vocals, phaser and fuzz pedals galore, sampling from drill sergeants and John F. Kennedy, and numerous layers of vocal and musical harmonies, the album plays as an actively political rock opera, more reminiscent of Queen than Nirvana. That said, it’s high time that a rock opera accessible to both prog-rock aficionados and classic-rock die-hards made the radio waves; Drones’ first track and single, “Dead Inside,” has garnered nonstop radio play. While the album’s lyrics are melodramatic at times, the vocals and guitar melodies more than make up for it. Drones is one of the strongest rock albums of 2015.


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