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Review: Imagine Dragons - Smoke + Mirrors

Imagine Dragons found their way into international limelight in 2013, and haven’t come down since. The Rock reviewed their newest album, Smoke + Mirrors.

Imagine Dragons is an American alternative rock band that in 2013 took the world by storm with their debut studio album, Night Visions. The quartet from Los Angeles make a strong return with their second studio album, Smoke + Mirrors, which came out in February this year.

The band remains faithful to the style established in their debut record: the album is full of tracks that are a mismatch of lingering ballads and powerful electronic sequences that make you want to sing out loud. Completed with the signature catchy group chanting and clapping, of course.

For the fans, the new album doesn’t offer many surprises, but that doesn’t mean that the band hasn’t improved. Compared to their first album, Smoke + Mirrors is much more consistent with its style. The band still dabbles with different genres, mixing everything from country and folk tunes to old school rock and drums. However, the transitions between different styles are much more subtle than in their previous work, making the tracks flow smoothly together.

When it comes to style of the music, Imagine Dragons walks in the footsteps of the likes of Muse: their songs are often experimental, with ever-changing melodies. I’m so sorry proves that Imagine Dragons are also able to throw together a credible old school rock song when they so wish. Friction on the other hand sounds like a theme to a Scandinavian crime series. This track is one of the darkest on the album, with some heavy metal tunes woven into it.

For those looking for more traditional Imagine Dragons, Dream is the way to go. It starts quietly, but turns quickly into a beautiful ballad packed with emotion. This is the song to listen to on rainy days. Smoke + Mirrors, the title track, deals with the same themes of separating reality and imagination.

In a lot of ways, the new album has darker tones than Night Visions. There’re are no happy-go-lucky songs like On top of the World anymore, but many tracks, like The Unknown and Polaroid still have a catchy and upbeat undertone.

Imagine Dragons is the type of band one can easily picture playing in the big summer festivals or stadiums. Some of the tracks, like Gold, start slowly, but don’t let it fool you; its jazzy tunes and strong electronic beat will get everyone on the dancefloor by the initial chorus. Another strong candidate is the more upbeat Bet My Life, which has already received a lot of playtime in radio.

The last track of the album, Warriors, is cinematic, dramatic and intense. It could easily play in the background of an epic battle scene in a blockbuster action film. It’s the perfect finishing song and leaves the fans wanting more.