In ‘theory,’ Muse’s latest album builds on their existing style, but in reality it falls flat.
Muse released its eighth studio album, “Simulation Theory,” Nov. 9. Extending the band’s existing sound, its eerie songs attempt both old and new techniques.
The album opens with “Algorithm,” easily the worst song in the album. It focuses heavily on serving as an intro, but repetitive instrumentals and dull vocals set the bar low for remaining songs.
The bar is quickly raised with “The Dark Side,” which opens with catchy techno instrumentals. Matt Bellamy’s trademark falsettos aid the dramatic build of the song and cement the somewhat spooky tone.
While many albums can fall into repetitiveness, “Simulation Theory” has just enough variety to keep listeners from being bored. “Pressure,” with broken-up vocals and an intensity furthered by staccatoed instrumentals, shakes up the album.
One of the best songs is “Something Human,” which starts with simple instrumentals and limited sound effects to amplify the vocals. While in many songs the effects are too much and drown out potentially powerful vocals, it strikes a perfect balance.
“Thought Contagion” also uses excellent balance of elements, with a catchy hook and rocking guitar. Its use of build, with the song seeming to gain steam as it progresses, is masterful.
New elements are contrasted directly with the old, with varying degrees of novelty. “Blockades” feels like a throwback to some of Muse’s older albums, with similar use of vocals and instrumentals.
Muse’s latest album contains hits and misses as it attempts to balance its vocals and traditional instrumentals with sci-fi sounds.