British rock trio Muse long ago committed to making music that shakes Olympic-size stadiums, so it's funny that the band is hyping its latest record, Drones, as raw rock ‘n' roll, a return to “basics.” It's true to some extent—gone are the dubstep influences of 2012's The 2nd Law—and the majority of tracks stick only to bass, drums and guitar. But Muse apparently can get only so basic. Included is a three-part, 10-minute epic with a chamber orchestra (“The Globalist”) and a chorale of frontman Matt Bellamy's voice layered over itself repeatedly (“Drones”). More maddening, Drones is supposedly a concept album about the inhumanity of the military complex's increasing use of deadly technology, but the concepts are spoon-fed with clunky lyrics, like those of single “Dead Inside,” which leave zero room for interpretation: “You've taught me to lie without a trace/And to kill with no remorse/On the outside I'm the greatest guy/Now I'm dead inside.” Bellamy has always shown bursts of flashy technicality, both as a guitarist and pianist, but he's avoided lengthy, self-indulgent solos. Not so on Drones. Take album highlight “Reapers,” a glam-metal stomp in which Bellamy murders the fretboard for a tweaked-out 60 seconds, complete with finger tapping, pick scrapes and gratuitous use of space-age, pitch-shifting effects. Hell yes.