When I first heard ‘I Bet My Life’, the first single on the album to make its way to the airwaves, I knew it had to be an Imagine Dragonstrack. Every song on their new album ‘Smoke + Mirrors’ brings an electric surge of energy that makes you want to get up and dance, but what else did we expect from the band who brought us the hits ‘Radioactive’ and ‘Demons’?
Every song on the album expresses a different emotion in an entirely distinctive way. ‘Shots’ is uniquely built around synth keys employing catchy melodies and block chords, while ‘Gold’ is a fantastic rock ballad with odd sound samples and sudden breaks in the middle of the chorus over the top of impressive guitar riffs and bass lines creating an interesting musical dynamic.
The title track of the album ‘Smoke + Mirrors’ is a more Coldplay style ballad, softer and less drum heavy than the rest of the album with great synth and guitar moments. ‘I’m So Sorry’ is reminiscent of The Black Keys heavy distorted rock ending with a guitar and drum solo rivalling some of rock’s best, while ‘I Bet My Life’ will have you clapping along to the energetic beat of the catchy pop track, a standout song on the album with plenty of good vibes coming out of the powerful chorus.
‘Polaroid’ is the love song of the album with a steady repetitive beat over a pretty piano melody, while Friction’s unique sound is built upon a rock Bollywood melody unlike any other track on the album. Possibly another highlight of Smoke + Mirrors, ‘Friction’ employs heavily distorted guitar and echoed vocals to create a friction between the rock and Bollywood sounds that somehow work so well together.
The album takes a turn with ‘It Comes Back to You’, the heartfelt ‘Dream’ and ultimate summertime track ‘Summer’ the more alternative songs of the album perfect to blast on a long road trip with friends – every good album has a few! ‘Trouble’ returns the energy with a tap-along beat and happy vibes in the fast paced track, acoustic guitars strummed over fast drum riffs and piano melodies while vocals repeat ‘I want no trouble’.
There are a lot of interesting things happening in this album coming together to create great music. I’m having trouble putting this album in one genre because of the variety it holds; rock ballads and alternative pop songs all in one showcasing Imagine Dragon’s true musical genius. This album has something for every mood; it’s powerful while still being relaxing, energetic and heartfelt.
Standout songs: Friction, Polaroid, I Bet My Life