With Night Visions gaining the band their first success, and an amazing Grammy performance of “Radioactive/M.A.A.D. City” with Kendrick Lamar, Imagine Dragons return with their sophomore album, Smoke + Mirrors. Now, I’m sure I speak for most that when “Radioactive” and “It’s Time” come on, we skip it or turn it off because of the “overplay” from the radio or because after awhile, the catchy pop/rock of Imagine Dragons starts to ware off and the bells from “It’s Time” get stuck in our heads and drives us slowly insane; however, I think most might be impressed by the new record.
It’s quite a hit-or-miss, and not just album wise, track-by-track wise. While some shine out like “Gold,” others fall short or are just too contrived like, “Polaroid,” or “It Comes Back To You.” Honestly, I didn’t expect much from it; I saw them perform at Firefly Festival in Dover last summer and it was quite calm and boring, not the massive drum and guitar spectacle that I had heard from everyone who saw them live. I mean, they were voted one of the best live acts of that year. Maybe they were just trying out something new. Needless to say, they didn’t keep that somber attitude I heard on Smoke + Mirrors.
Yes, it’s still pop music, but they do go in on this record, sometimes even surprisingly in. If you liked Imagine Dragons, still like Imagine Dragons, or wish they were a little rougher, there just might be a track for everyone on here. Overall though, I did like Smoke + Mirrors better than Night Visions, with “Gold,” being my clear favorite off this new record. Album wise, it’s a step up to keep them around, but maybe not a step up for every track.
Listen on Apple Music and Spotify.