Imagine Dragons, Evolve

by Rudy Palma

Evolve, is the next installment from super group Imagine Dragons. Frontman Dan Reynolds, who founded Imagine Dragons with guitarist Wayne Sermon, bassist Ben McKee, and drummer Daniel Platzman, has not taken their success lightly. All the musicians have been working hard to follow up their success with Night Visions, their 2012 debut album, which racked up over 7 million worldwide sales to date, while the mammoth single “Radioactive” has surpassed over 10 million. Evolve is the band’s third full-length album.

The band still barrows the best parts of the ‘80s energetic rock movement to build their songs and sound. The first single, “Believer,” is no exception. Arena style drums start the track and provide the backdrop with a quiet arpeggiated guitar progression for Reynolds vocals. Listeners will recognize the favored vocal leaps and band harmonies that still have that “Radioactive” reading. The band’s sound has evolved and is bigger and more rhythmically driving. Sermon’s guitar work is tasty, the vocals and harmonies are always in the forefront and highly singable.

“Walking the Wire” gives more space to the song, relaxing the power pumping rock sound they are known for. The chorus is still all Imagine Dragons, full harmonized melodies and big power chords. Reynolds vocal range is as impressive as ever.

The tune “Thunder” brings Reynolds vocal ability center stage, showing his skill and versatility with his extended range and vocal colors. The tune rings through, with solid melodic leitmotifs, at times mellow, but always fascinating and full of surprising sections and evolution of themes.

“Whatever It Takes” is back to the energy pumping journey, a road trip that twists and turns and rewards the listeners with surprises around every corner. Imagine Dragons have that very rare gift for melody, creating pretty musical figures that are pleasing and plangent, scintillating and satisfying.

Imagine Dragons’ music could very easily get lost in the realm of common popular music, but it’s far too inventive and adventurous to be pigeon holed in that pejorative category. Evolve is an album from a band whose musical maturity may very well be a reflection to the journey of success, and their enduring quest to keep writing great songs. The verdict is still out if Evolve with match Night Visions, in its sales success, but it is still a masterful Evolution, from a highly creative group effort.

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