Imagine Dragons shot to fame three years ago, and now they're back with their second album.
Frontman Dan Reynolds had told us to "expect the unexpected", but Smoke + Mirrors is hour-long proof that the four-piece Las Vegas rock band haven't evolved much in terms of their sound or style.
Sure, the album is consistently decent with a mix of classic rock, pop, EDM, folk, R'n'B and a strong tinge of gospel. The chorus melodies are catchy, but the album holds no real surprises. You know that, at some point, the huge floor drum is going to show up and turn the song into yet another marching anthem. It works for some songs, but there's so much of it that nothing ends up leaving an impression.
The deluxe album features 18 tracks where Reynolds pours his heart out. Success hasn't made him any less depressed; as he asks in Release, "Is there nothing good in me? / I've let me down down, down, down".
Smoke + Mirrors has its delights. I Bet My Life (which is reminiscent of Fun's Some Nights) shows off some good vocals, and Friction is an interesting rock piece with an exotic vibe. Life's not that bad, Reynolds.