Album Review: Imagine Dragons – Smoke + Mirrors

The foursome return with a follow-up worthy of the credentials afforded by their debut, says

20141217041653!Smoke and Mirrors album cover Rating: ★★★★☆

Everything they touch turns to gold.

After taking the world by storm with first album Night Visions in 2012, Las Vegas band Imagine Dragons have composed another thrilling album with viral potential to equal that of their debut. With a total of 18 tracks, the album takes up a little over an hour, yet it never seems to drag nor stumble. With an echoing ring of originality, a large number of the tracks on Smoke + Mirrors are defined by a genre mash up, though one can pick out strains of the stadium-filling bravado of Coldplay and the emotional intimacy of Mumford & Sons in their new material.

It is an album of passion and ambition, a chaotic delight with an identity of its own. ‘Shots’ acts as opener, propounding an electronic, techno vibe as lead singer Dan Reynold’s voice takes over to start us on this brilliant journey. The brutally raw and honest ‘Gold’ is a breath of fresh air with its combination of edgy tone and riveting beat.

‘Smoke + Mirrors’ could not have been given a more apt title, with no fixed genre, no fixed direction and a collusion of symphonies – it’s a beautifully realised disaster. The raw aesthetic of this track surpasses critisisms of superficiality levelled at the band following their debut.  ‘I Bet My Life’, the lead single, is the epitome of music that touches the soul. With a melody of indomitable spirit, an ardent bridge and lyrics equally as powerful, this song was made to reach out to an audience on a global level.

Other solid performances include ‘Dream’ and ‘Second Chances’, both heart wrenching ballads of perfection in darkness. ‘It Comes Back To You’, rather similar to their old work, is probably the track that maps the most recognisable and familiar sonic territory that Imagine Dragon fans can relate to the band.

‘Warriors’ serves as the breathtaking finale that closes this incredible album. Uplifting as ever, this track is immaculately orchestrated, and signals the maturity the band has ammassed on this sophomore effort. Smoke + Mirrors is Imagine Dragon’s consolidation of their gains so far, an album that breeds fervour and zeal. Free spirited as ever, the album is sure to trend as a phenomenon in music this year.

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