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CD: Imagine Dragons – Smoke + Mirrors | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Imagine Dragons – Smoke + Mirrors

CD: Imagine Dragons – Smoke + Mirrors

Las Vegas pop rockers try to be Coldplay

Smoke + Mirrors - Artistically barren

Several years ago, punk pranksters Art Brut had a tune called “Slap dash for no cash” which asked “Why is everyone trying to sound like U2? It’s not a very cool thing to do”. It seems that Imagine Dragons have gone one misstep further on Smoke + Mirrors – by trying to sound like Coldplay.

Tracks like recent single “Shots”, “Smoke and mirrors” and “It comes back to you” are all aimed at the arena environment with Wayne Sermon’s twiddly, Edge-type guitars and a great dollop of 80s style production, courtesy of Alex Da Kid. Dan Reynolds’ lyrics meanwhile are consistently banal generalisations that suggest the deep and meaningful but, on closer inspection, prove to be completely vapid.

There are attempts to bring something new to the mix with elements of a trip hop groove on the likes of “Gold”, “Hopeless Opus” and “Polaroid” and even a stab at R’n’B on the completely over-produced “Friction” – which gives the impression of having been written so that it might be used on the soundtrack of some brain-dead blockbuster film. “I’m so sorry” brings aboard some heavy blues riffing and bucket-loads of swagger but in the end it just sounds like the kind of tune that might soundtrack a car advertisement. There’s even a power ballad called “Dream” and a couple of Mumford and Sons-like folk-rockers, “Trouble” and lead single “I bet my life”. In the end though, the lion’s share of Smoke + Mirrors is characterised by pompous and dull pop rock.

Imagine Dragons’ 2012 debut album, Night Visions, sold over two million copies in the States alone and has been certified platinum in at least twelve countries. No doubt Smoke + Mirrors will repeat this success. It is, however, an artistically barren piece of work.

Dan Reynolds’ lyrics are consistently banal generalisations that suggest the deep and meaningful but, on closer inspection, prove to be completely vapid

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