Muse - "The Simulation Theory" review

With space rockabilly and EDM machine gun rhythms, this bizarre new album sees Muse's withdrawal from the real world and a style pastiche "Tron". of their adolescence. You will be ashamed to tell anyone how much you love him

In an attempt to escape from boredom in the early 1990s, three awkward teenagers from Teignmouth, Devon, who wore Ned's Atomic Dustbin and Nirvana t-shirts, channeled their teenage angst – and the desire to be as strange as possible – to form what would become the institution and the stadium powerhouse that is Muse.

In those early interim days of artistic experiments in grunge, they went by the names of Carnage Mayhem, Gothic Plague and Rocket Baby Dolls. Muse fans will have experienced a parody of happy fandom when the band adopted "Rocket Baby Dolls" as their moniker in the pastoral theme video of the 80s for the single "Pressure" single. Given this self-referential gesture, should we assume that the Muses are trying to rekindle their past?

With the artwork of & # 39; Simulation Theory & # 39; drawn by Stranger things the artist Kyle Lambert, and all the videos up until now that show them entering virtual reality, recreations of different times and kingdoms, the Muses are much vaunted by the imagination of their bedrooms for the. childhood. Following the blacker-black-war distopy of the "Drones" of 2015, they found an escape from the slime of the here and now.

Opener & # 39; Algorithm & # 39; brings all the pomp and promise of the best open albums of the Muse (see "Newborn", "Apocalypse Please" and "Take A Bow"), questioning the reality of a world "caged in simulations","made obsolete"Of"evolving algorithms". It's Charlie Brooker's stuff Black mirror nightmares, until truncatedthe videogame esque years & # 80; meets the soundscape of John Carpenter. The escapade from the neon flows through the Depeche Mode stomp of "The Dark Side", George Michael's ballad of "Something Human" and eight battles of "Blockades".

As in the case of the Muse, there are many moments in which to support the eyebrows on "Simulation Theory". With longtime collaborator Rich Costey for production activities, he was aware of Mike Elizondo (Dr Dre, Eminem), Shellback (Taylor Swift, Britney Spears) and Timbaland (Missy Elliot, Justin Timberlake) – the band has modified the path of their explosion, moving away from the prog. Instead, they allow themselves their most guilty pleasures.

C & # 39; is the rockabilly delirium in the space age of "Pressure", while "Propaganda" is Muse that takes pee at the umpteenth power; It is a vision that sees Matt Bellamy attempting to look sexy atop the EDM machine gun beats and at the princely liquid R & B. You will be too ashamed to tell everyone how much you like it. The same goes for "Break It To Me", which is the sound of KoRn covering the Pussycat Dolls. Who knew we needed it? Driven by a sugary hook similar to the "Two Times" by Ann Lee in 1999, "Get Up And Fight" floats with a lightness to which the Muse are not always credited, before cradling yourself with a shamelessly monolithic Eurovision style choir.

"They will say that the sun is dying and the fragile can not be saved, "Bellamy hums on the nearest cinematic and shimmering" The Void ", a highlight of the album, before seeing the light at the end of the tunnel:"Bbaby, they're wrong". The Muses have found hope in another world.

Overall, no, "Simulation Theory" is not blessed with the crazy class of their 2001 masterpiece "Origin Of Symmetry", or the pure rock abandonment of "Drones". In reality, however, it is wrong to compare this record with the band's back catalog. Yes, this is still Muse, but here they are trying to be something else – well, everything else. They are avatars in a ridiculous simulation of teenagers who invite you to steal the nightmare and in an electric dream.

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