“Smoke + Mirrors” kept the musical structure of the old album, with blaring choruses and a drumline to match, as well as the lyrical concepts of being to blame and working towards forgiveness.
Unfortunately, this leads to them having similar material and not allowing any of the songs to resonate with listeners. “Gold,” “I Bet My Life” and “The Fall” are all very good songs, yet they lack any zest to make them worthy of a playlist. Simply keeping the beat and pace from “Night Visions” and replacing the lyrics with similar thematic wording does not make for a memorable album.
Lead singer Dan Reynolds does display his signature high tenor, one of the main reasons for this band’s fame. Reynolds seems to use his struggles with depression to fuel his singing, which gives him a raw, emotional believability to his vocals.
For a band that has their songs used in multiple advertisements, as well as being used in many popular shows and sporting events, it is disappointing that they don’t come up with a new song that will help them maintain their popularity.
It is also disheartening to see them miss the mark with this album, as they are one of the few rock bands that pierce through the vapid wasteland of mainstream pop and hip-hop. For rock to keep pace, it would have been better to see a more diverse song listing, rather than pigeon-holing themselves with the same style as “Night Visions.”
Even with these flaws, “Smoke + Mirrors” still has a listenable quality, even if it is not an album that you would repeat often. For fans of Imagine Dragons, this album is worth getting, but for new audiences, take “Night Visions” instead.