From the retro-futuristic cover art by Stranger Things poster designer Kyle Lambert to lyrical themes of oppression, the English band’s eighth album, Simulation Theory, plays like an ’80s sci-fi flick. The opening set of songs lays out a bleak setting: “Algorithim” and “The Dark Side” are cries for help set against caterwauling synth-rock. Yet rather than wallow in despair, the band uses stirring oratory and a spectacular wall-of-sound to rise against systematic, technological, and mental anguish. They rally the troops on “Thought Contagion,” “Dig Down,” and “Get Up and Fight,” while “Something Human” shows that even a platinum-selling megaband needs a reassuring hug sometimes. The one Simulation Theory song that will surely inspire debate is “Propaganda,” the trio’s collaboration with producer Timbaland. On it, lead singer Matt Bellamy locks into a sexy falsetto while Timbaland puts his foot (and a slide guitar) into the track. Will longtime Muse fans accept a Timberlake-like pure-pop turn from Bellamy? It’s a tipping point but one that was inevitable; after exploring darkness on Drones, The 2nd Law, and The Resistance, Simulation Theory shows the band embracing fresh styles.