Imagine Dragons – Evolve (2017) [Qobuz FLAC 24bit/44,1kHz]

Imagine Dragons – Evolve (2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 39:17 minutes | 464 MB | Genre: Alternative
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Front Cover | © Interscope

The third full-length release for the Las Vegas rock band features production from Alex da Kid, Jayson DeZuzio, John Hill, Joel Little, and Mattman & Robin. “Evolve” involves mostly devolving back into the hoariest of tired rock cliches, and plodding grimly towards the summer’s festivals. This latest effort might represent a small progression, but it’s still far from an evolution.

Imagine Dragons give away the plot with the very title of Evolve, the 2017 sequel to 2015’s sophomore set, Smoke + Mirrors. Not content to stay in one emotional or musical spot, Imagine Dragons consciously move forward on Evolve, pushing themselves into a positive place, a transition that mirrors lead singer Dan Reynolds working through a heavy depression. Some of that darkness seeped into Smoke + Mirrors, but it’s not heard here. Opening with “I Don’t Know Why,” a glitzy dance-rock song that nods at a disco past but exists in an EDM present, the record often rides along to a neon pulse. It’s not that Imagine Dragons have abandoned the heavy-footed stomp they patented on “Radioactive,” but they’ve threaded in busy, percolating electronic beats and give plenty of space to gilded keyboards. When the tempo is quick, the results are festival-friendly electro-rockers. When the tempo is slow, the results feel like a hybrid of Coldplay and Mr. Mister – power rock ballads spiked with laser drums. As throwback as that sensibility may be, the band strives to be thoroughly modern, emphasizing rhythms and gargantuan hooks to tightly constructed compositions. Whenever the group tries a new sound – pumping up “Mouth of the River” with fuzz guitars or attempting a bit of rap-rock on “Start Over” – it feels not like experimentation but like a quick scan through a new music playlist. And that means Evolve feels very much like the digital Zeitgeist of 2017: good intentions aside, its bold, colorful textures elbow aside any notions of introspection or reflection.

01 – I Don’t Know Why
02 – Whatever It Takes
03 – Believer
04 – Walking The Wire
05 – Rise Up
06 – I’ll Make It Up To You
07 – Yesterday
08 – Mouth Of The River
09 – Thunder
10 – Start Over
11 – Dancing In The Dark