Let’s be honest, who doesn’t have an Imagine Dragons song that they at least kinda like? The band’s catalogue is so large and diverse that there’s something for everyone there. But after the band’s short hiatus in late 2016, few expected the band to come out with new music quite so soon. So here the band are, yet again, with another eleven songs, and their new album Evolve. The name comes from the fact that lead singer Dan Reynolds has called this ‘an evolution for the band’. But will this change truly work, or would it be better if the band had never evolved at all?
Initially, it is clear to see where Reynolds was coming from, with this set of songs seeming a lot more coherent than the diverse sounds of Night Visions and Smoke + Mirrors. It contains a plethora of easily accessible songs with themes of overcoming adversity and bettering yourself. Considering that, it is definitely the most ‘mainstream’ album that they have created, and any song would feel right at home on Radio 1. ‘Rise Up’ definitely has shades of 2012’s smash hit ‘Radioactive’, whereas ‘Walking The Wire’ is a little softer, reminiscent of a mixture of ‘It’s Time’ and ‘Bleeding Out’. But is there anything that particularly stands out as new or unique? The answer to that is no, and that’s where this album loses me a little. With each other release, Imagine Dragons have brought a new, diverse set of songs, but Evolve never really changes things up, definitely playing it safer than the previous two albums.
But it’s not all doom and gloom – this album has a lot of great moments. ‘Whatever It Takes’ sounds as epic as anything the band have made, with a soaring chorus and huge-sounding drums. Another song in the same vein is ‘Believer’, the main single from the album, with a driving drum beat to go with the atmospheric synth sounds and a fantastic vocal performance. ‘Mouth Of The River’ also features great vocals, along with some subtle distorted guitar, which is always a nice touch. ‘Yesterday’, however is a big misstep, but it is nice to see at least a little experimentation in the form of extravagant Queen-esque vocals. If you’re a fan of Imagine Dragons, then there’ll definitely be something to find in this album, but if not, I just can’t see there being enough on this album to pick it up.
Best song: Whatever It Takes