Last year (2014), Muse celebrated their 20th anniversary. This year, though, is all about the future: the trio will release their seventh LP ‘Drones’ on June 8 and it’s shaping up to be a politically-charged, confrontational affair. Here’s everything we know about Muse’s next album so far…
The basic essentials
'Drones' is out on June 8 and this is the album cover. They have already released first track 'Psycho' and lead single 'Dead Inside'.
They'll be playing it live.
Muse have announced a series of live dates for later this month. Matt Bellamy and co will play gigs in Belfast, Glasgow, Newport, Exeter, Manchester and Brighton. They'll also headline Download this summer.
It sounds political
To wit, the track-listing:
And possibly a bit dangerous
Matt Bellamy recently revealed that the group's new single is "too offensive for radio" during a brief question and answer session with fans on Twitter. A fan asked the frontman whether the rumours about Muse's forthcoming single being aired on radio are true, to which he responded: "Too offensive for radio...".
Matt Mahurin is working on the visual aspect of the project. Mahurin previously produced album covers for the likes of the Ramones, Marilyn Manson, Tom Waits and Ozzy Osbourne and announced his involvement on Instagram, writing “Thrilled and grateful to be working with the band on an incredible project. This folder contains my cover and concept designs.”
They've been working on it for some time. Studio sessions might only have been completed last October, but the band began thinking about 'Drones' much earlier – drummer Dom Howard said he and Bellamy had started discussing ideas as far back as January 2013, and the singer revealed in December of the same year that he'd already written "some good tracks" for their next project.
It's being produced by AC/DC cohort Robert 'Mutt' Lange. After self-producing for both 'The Resistance' and 'The 2nd Law', Muse have changed tack this time around. In October 2013, they revealed they'd be working with AC/DC producer Robert 'Mutt' Lange on the LP. Lunge produced the rock band's 1980 classic 'Back In Black' – although he also helmed albums by Nickelback and Maroon 5, too.
Expect a heavier, rockier sound… After recent experiments with synths and orchestras, Matt Bellamy's hinted that their next LP will be getting back to their original roots. "We’re going to veer back towards musicianship again and focusing on our own instruments: guitar, bass and drums," he said previously. "It’s probably going to be a bit of a rawer album, and definitely a bit more rock."
… and some guitar solos, too. In 2000, Bellamy dismissed the fret-wanking of guitar solos by rubbishing them for being "uncool". There's a chance, though, that he's had a rethink. "I may have to contradict myself on the next album," he told fans on Twitter in September last year – presumably with plectrum in hand at the time...
But there'll still be strings. Despite Bellamy's back-to-basics talk, Muse haven't totally pared thing down for album number seven. In December last year, the band posted another video on Instagram of the band recording in Milan, Italy. An orchestra is seen recording before the camera pans around, with Bellamy watching on. The caption accompanying the image says simply: "Milan strings."
It's got some pretty highfaluting themes. Muse seldom plump for bog-standard themes, do they? It's no exception on the next album, either: rather than dwelling on personal strife or kitchen-sink narratives, it's shaping up to be complex and conceptual. Bellamy told fans in September that inspirations included "Deep ecology, the empathy gap and world war 3".
There's possibly a sequel to their classic song 'Citizen Erased'. Arguably the most intriguing snippet from Bellamy's Twitter clues was his hint that the new LP might include a sequel to their track 'Citizen Erased', which featured on 2001's 'Origin Of Symmetry'. Fingers crossed it turns up on the finished product.
They might do 'a Radiohead'. Could Muse be gearing up to shake the music industry? In November 2013, Bellamy suggested that they might follow in Radiohead's footsteps by embracing new delivery methods and formats. "How we release it is up for debate," he said. "The industry is moving so fast, you don’t really know."