Their unique sound makes it impossible not to recognise them and yet, no two records in their musical history are the same. It’s Muse we’re talking about. They are constantly growing, evolving, expanding and experimenting and this time, it’s all about ‘Simulation Theory’. Less aggressive than ‘Drones’, but way more synthesized than the epic ‘The Resistance’, the new album is a cocktail of techno-rock experimentation and exploitation of pop hues.
The album opens with the kicks of the drums and the breathless rhythm of ‘Algorithm’ and closes with the lyrical/techno sounds of ‘The Void’. Every single track is an unmissable stop of a space exploration you’ve entered at your own risk when tuning in.
The second track after the kickstarter, ‘The Dark Side’, is a true moment of being. We feel it explode and expand around us as the spiralling techno sounds keep climbing upwards, over our heads. What follows this track is my personal favourite of the album. Palatable, danceable, unstoppable: it’s ‘Pressure’. This song perfectly channels a mix of the ‘old’ and ‘new’ Muse, with a blend of alternating playfulness and rage.
Incompatible with what we’ve experienced so far, an ominous sensation marked by the heavy experimental sounds characterises every note of ‘Propaganda’. After all this tension and breathlessness, we gladly come across ‘Something Human’, a ballad-like track for all the hopeless romantics who have played ‘Neutron Star Collision’ repeatedly after its release.
The climax is finally reached with ‘Thought Contagion’, the first single of the album to be released. It is evident by now that Muse have moved toward something different since their first albums, but they undoubtedly carry their uniqueness and charisma with them on their musical journey.
After ‘Blockades’, where the strings of techno are tensed to the extreme, the pace of the album slows down with ‘Dig Down’. Erratic beats are joined to an overdose of synthesizer, giving this song the savour of a never-ending exploration.
We may think that ‘The Void’ is the final destination of our journey but, after all , we have to remember that we are talking about Muse and so we’re not allowed to stop and be sure of anything - there’s always a new beginning ahead of us.