Image: Eliot Lee Haze/chuffmedia

Imagine Dragons’ Evolve – Can they live up to the title?

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Imagine Dragons’ latest album returns to the more current, catchier sounds which fuelled the hits from their Night Visions album in 2012, though it’s the changes made that could come as a breath of fresh air for fans in the summer heat. Evolve takes what the band is known for, a blend of rock and pop which has in the past brought them success, and improves upon it, even completely mixing it up in cases. However, for those looking for something completely different to their usual style, this might not be what you were after.

The first track, ‘I Don’t Know Why’, combines a modern sounding funk fuelled chorus with a gloomy electro-pop opening.  ‘Yesterday’ comes across as almost comical, with joyful piano riffs and Queen-esque flairs. ‘Mouth Of The River’ finds a strange yet enjoyable balance between The Killers and Adele. ‘Dancing In The Dark’ is their biggest change up. With its chill, trippy vibe you could be forgiven for not immediately recognising the artist.

The entire set is potentially unlikely to please every listener but with the array of genres represented you’re likely to find at least one song to enjoy

That isn’t to say it all feels entirely new for the band. ‘Believer’ builds on the powerful percussion found in ‘Radioactive’, the song that launched the band into the eye of the mainstream, and throws in the fast-paced lyricism of hip-hop. This theme continues into ‘Whatever It Takes’ and ‘Thunder’ which also both mix in a hip-hop feel with the band’s usual blend. ‘Rise Up’ is reminiscent of ‘Demons’ but with a slightly more upbeat tone and ‘Walking The Wire’ brings back the band’s prominent drumbeat and creates an almost lighter-swaying vibe at times.

Evolve / chuffmedia

All the songs in the album come with the usual feel good vibe and positive message we’ve come to expect from them, a motif which combines the potentially juxtaposing sounds into one coherent group. For better or for worse the Las Vegas group took risks with Evolve, making changes to the formula which saw them break out and got their previous album, Smoke + Mirrors, to No 1 in 2015. The entire set is potentially unlikely to please every listener but with the array of genres represented you’re likely to find at least one song to enjoy.  

Disappointingly though, the major progression you might expect with the title isn’t fully realised. Whilst there is some new, much of the album feels like more of the same. That isn’t necessarily a negative but the album probably won’t do much to expand the band’s fan base.

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