Imagine Dragons, "Smoke + Mirrors" (Interscope)
Imagine Dragons' second studio album, "Smoke + Mirrors," is certainly one of the more technically ambitious releases of this young year. It's a boisterous but hit-and-miss effort from the alt-rock band still swooning in international acclaim from its 2012 debut, "Night Visions," which launched the Grammy-winning hit "Radioactive."
There's a lot of everything here. Too much at times, as it can feel like instrumental overload. Songs like "Gold" are so busy trying to fill every crevice with studio sound that it's hard to find the artistry. "Smoke + Mirrors" is power pop fueled by a blend of discernable instruments and other studio-only effects that can come off too contrived.
Imagine Dragons remain soft enough for radio hits, but restless enough to experiment. All of the band's musical options are open, but "Smoke + Mirrors" would have benefited from a more focused vision.
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