The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

MUSIC REVIEW – Rock band’s newest album underwhelms, fails to ignite

By Hope Sandusky/nw news editor

Bursting onto the scene in 2012 with its debut album Night Visions, alternative rock band Imagine Dragons released a slew of hits that led it to be aptly named “The Breakthrough Band of the Year” by both Billboard and MTV.

At Lollapalooza, the band said it had been working on songs for the album as soon as it went on tour for Night Visions and wouldn’t release it until the group personally felt it was complete. Three years later, the band’s much anticipated sophomore album, Smoke + Mirrors, promised to be much different from the first

Smoke + Mirrors, Imagine Dragons
Smoke + Mirrors, Imagine Dragons

album. And much different it is.

Like the first album, Smoke + Mirrors was self-produced by the band with English producer Alexander “Alex Da Kid” Grant. But the two albums sound nothing alike.

The album opens with “Shots,” which sounds more depressing dance/techno than rock. Rather than be a good indication of what the rest of the album will sound like, the song has no precise musical connection to the rest of the songs. In fact, none of the songs have any musical connection with each other. The songs range from dance to techno to folk to indie within each one.

The album’s lead single “I Bet My Life” is a folk-driven beat with a gospel undertone, a drum-thumping and hand-clapping song with a catchy chorus, which is what perhaps makes it most suited for radio than the rest of the album.

The album’s title song “Smoke + Mirrors” is a slow indie style song with electronic beats overriding it in various sections of the song. At times, the music overwashes the song as it is sung softly.

As a whole, the album feels concise and handpicked but not naturally so, almost as if the band was trying too hard to make each song an independent hit rather than a flowing story throughout. There is no mass theme or underlying tone.

While there is no denying the talent in the band’s ability to incorporate so many genres, fans will not find a distinctive rock sound as in the first album. A distinctive sound might not be found at all, other than it’s eclectic.

Night Visions produced six hit singles and debuted second on Billboard 200. It’s too soon to tell if Smoke + Mirrors will have that kind of success.

Maybe with the vast amount of genres incorporated, something could be found for everyone, but the true rock sound will not be one of them. If the first album was fire, this one was nothing but fizzle.

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