Imagine Dragons, the quartet from sin-city capital Las Vegas, Nevada released Smoke and Mirrors this weekend. Their second studio album stands to fill some large shoes as their debut album Night Visions went platinum winning the band’s number one single “Radioactive” a Grammy for Best Rock Performance. Smoke and Mirrors track “I Bet My Life” has been looping through radio networks since last fall, giving fans a taste of the upcoming album, yet their single is no indication as to the overall sound of the album.
Smoke and Mirrors follows no pattern other than experimentation and harmonized lyrics, which isn’t a bad factor. It simply offers a wider range for fans to delve in to as they muse alternative rock with the catchiness of pop to establish something loud and demanding of at least a brief viewing. They do however stick with their power as a quartet and heavy bass drum that was a driving distinction for “Radioactive” and its success.
Each track takes on a different identity for the new album. Opening with “Shots” we get a nice blend of pop and ‘80s echoing synthesizer. “Gold” maintains my favorite track on the album because it balances the bass drum, whistling vocals and ominous rock riffs in order to create a spooky delightful mess of music. Other songs jump in from a quiet break between songs to slap you in the face like “Friction” with its synthesized Citar sounds. It’s a drastic transition from the previous track “Polaroid” that’s rhythmic, almost chanting lyrics accompany an uplifting joyful tune. The album extends 15 tracks, each one a new journey and extinction of the previous song.
The album pushes the listener through an amusement park of sound, offering a carnival chaos of tracks as you push play, but it’s worth a viewing as this band experiments with the limits of alternative rock and new-age pop.