It’s difficult to fathom topping the success of Imagine Dragons during its epic debut in 2012, but the group’s latest release aims to do just that. Though the album has its highs and lows, “Smoke + Mirrors” is packed with potential.
The band has stayed true to the edgy sound that proved effective with its previous album, “Night Visions,” with new twists to appeal to new listeners as well as dedicated fans.
“Smoke + Mirrors” opens with a commanding track, “Shots,” evocative of Coldplay but branded with the vocal power exclusive to frontman Dan Reynolds. The leading single, “I Bet My Life,” released last fall, is among the lighter tracks on the album, which is a breath of fresh air from the boisterous and rugged sounds utilized throughout the remainder of the record. “Polaroid” is calm in comparison, but the group’s memorable presence shines through in the chorus in what might otherwise be a dull song. The band’s alternative roots are reflected in the tracks “Gold” and “I’m So Sorry,” which are heavily reminiscent of the 2012 hit “Radioactive.” “Trouble” relies on memories of being “only 19” and insistences of a “man on a mission,” which helps in guiding the song to its upbeat tagline (“I want no trouble/I want no trouble”) and is one of the more notable tracks on the tail end of the album. The final track, “The Fall,” offers a satisfying conclusion, but the faded closing lyrics seem to get lost after the robust songs featured earlier on the album; however, the song remains an anthem that only Imagine Dragons is capable of producing.
The group pegged “Smoke + Mirrors” as its “New Year’s resolution” and, all in all, it should be safe to successfully check that resolution off the list.
Katie Czerwinski is a senior at Cardinal O’Hara High School.