Whether you like it or not, Muse have cemented themselves with some pretty strong singles over the years. Knights of Cydonia, Starlight and Plug In Baby. This new single was pretty highly anticipated, with Matt Bellamy claiming that Muse were going back to basics. This sounds a familiar claim from bands who have expanded beyond their initial sound (e.g. the Strokes, Interpol, Sleater-Kinney most recently), only to try to regain some of that initial spark. In recent years, Muse has dabbled in EDM, Queen-like theatrics and pop. So there really was nowhere for Muse to other than back, promising the straight-up rock that made Hysteria and Bliss so good.
Psycho is just that – straight-up rock. A rollicking riff here, Bellamy’s trademark OTT playing and his similarly exaggerated operatic vocals. If this track was a colour, it would be the most beige beige on the colour chart. Muse seem content to play around within their playpen of EDM and glistening theatrics as long as cock-rock is well within their sights. Bellamy lays the political message on thick, which had unfortunately been the case since his political epiphany back on Absolution, with Bellamy this time deciding to centre his subtle political leanings towards the military, specifically drones (the album title totally doesn’t give anything away). The lyrics are laughable, with Bellamy trying to say ‘Your ass belongs to me now’ and make it sound like he is actually taking it seriously. There are the Full Metal Jacket Officer-like refrains determined to drill into your head (if they hadn’t before) that Bellamy and co are really, really worried about drones. Part of what made Muse so interesting before was an insatiable lust for rock that can capture the imagination, now it just seems stale and overworked. Muse have in effect, matured into a hard-Coldplay, soft-Bends-era-Radiohead band that is squeezed of all creativity. Sad really.