The last few years have been a tricky one for Muse. While their last album 'Drones' saw them confront frontman Matt Bellamy's own political and conspiracy beliefs to a mixed reception, the band seem to have gone back to the drawing board with a whole new aesthetic on their eighth studio album. With artwork and visuals referencing the 80s, the trio have clearly been inspired by the era's electronic synthwave revolution as they look to incorporate gritty and driven electronics into their trademark anthemic rock sound, which as you can imagine works only some of the time.
It has probably been close to a decade that we have really heard Muse on their A-game, and while 'Simulation Theory' does have its moments to enjoy, much of this release falls into that same self-pretentious trap of them looking to create bigger and more elaborate compositions. While singles such as 'Pressure' does deliver some respite from the over-zealous productions, and give us one of the more memorable riffs on the record, the majority of this new LP remains that same old Muse looking to push the agenda of their own ridiculous caricature and bombastic selves.
Yet while it does still manage to entertain some of the time, the problem that this release faces is that it is just so unmemorable throughout. You can enjoy 'Simulation Theory' and say, "yes that is definitely a Muse record", but once it ends, you don't really come away wanting to relisten to much of it. Flashy in places but not enough to really get under your skin.