Muse treads between sublime and ridiculous more than any rock band in recent memory, with jaw-dropping pretention that makes it hard to tell if they're just having a laugh. Drones is, of course, a concept album, about, according to the liner notes, "the journey of a human, from their abandonment and loss of hope to their indoctrination by the system to be a human drone."
But the intent doesn't match the straightforward -- for Muse, at least -- result. As always, the best tracks ("Mercy," "The Handler") find Matthew Bellamy's protometal riffs and soaring vocals preventing his sappier instincts from holding sway. The title track ends the LP in true WTF fashion, with a church choir singing, "Now you can kill from the safety of your home with drones/Amen." Muse is one of the world's biggest rock bands, but for all its missionary zeal, Drones preaches to the converted.