Imagine Dragons – Smoke + Mirrors

imagine-dragons-smoke-and-mirrors-album-coverI was late to the Imagine Dragons party.

I knew who they were, I knew there was a vibe about them, but I had never (knowingly) heard them. It is no surprise then that when I did hear their debut album Night Visions,  I was both impressed, and already knew a few of the songs. ‘Radioactive’ anyone?

Last month saw the release of Smoke + Mirrors the follow-up to the 4 million unit selling debut. Starting with ‘Shots’ and then ‘Gold’ the big anthemic songs are most definitely still in place and it is clearly business as usual for Imagine Dragons.

‘I Bet My Life’ has that indie sound which you would normally relate to bands like The Lumineers and Mumford & Sons, yet adds more. Somehow the more is a feeling of Stadium rather than Coffee Shop, and that’s a good thing for these ears.

When ’Friction’ starts I’m immediately thinking of The Prodigy. A diluted Prodigy but it’s the sort of rhythm and sound you often hear in their tracks. However as the song evolves it’s also reminiscent of Beyoncé or Rihanna, which in itself is no bad thing. Different from what has come before this song breaks the album in two.

The song immediately after, ’It Comes Back To You’ is a classic chart-bothering mid-tempo pop song. And this is the crux of Smoke + Mirrors; there is an amalgam of sounds, styles, instruments, choirs, and all sorts going on yet at no point does the album sound cobbled together, a mish-mash of ideas or incoherent.

The other point of note here is that the album, the Deluxe Edition at least, sports 18 tracks. I’m not usually a fan of overly long albums as often the quality drops as a result. Here there is no jarring filler to speak of. The length somehow gives space for the songs and styles to breathe and claim their rightful place on the track listing.

Imagine Dragons were on a meteoric rise and we wait to see if the album can reach the same heights as its older sibling. On quality of content alone it deserves to, and I doubt the band’s star will fall any time soon.

Gareth Fraser

Gareth Fraser

Editor of Musicscramble. Obsessed with music from a young age leading to over 1100 gigs under his belt with little sign of slowing down. A serious record collecting habit and a love of concert photography.
Gareth Fraser

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