Album Review – ‘Evolve’ by Imagine Dragons
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Album Review – ‘Evolve’ by Imagine Dragons

Summer music is officially in! With the solstice finally in season, the the tunes entering the airwaves will be supported by good vibes and even more exploration in the hot sun. Musicians who are up for the job are easy to find in Imagine Dragons. With the release of their new album, ‘Evolve’ today, they bring a punch into the usual carefree music of the heated summer. Fans are ready to hear the rest of this addition to their discography after they have already been won over by the tunes, Thunder and Believer, both of which had paired video releases back in early May and March. ‘Evolve’ will resonate with many listeners as the subtle focal point with the arrangements, which offer a sense of social perseverance. There is special communal power within that has encouragement. With a tour to follow right off the bat alongside contemporaries, Grouplove and K. Flay, it is set to be one musical adventure to remember.

Overall, ‘Evolve’ keeps much of their signature musical glory. In tunes I Don’t Know Why, Whatever It Takes, Believer and Mouth of The River, their style remains.

Lingering ethereal and distorted wails surround the listener throughout much of it with special attention to I Don’t Know Why. Dan’s vocals take over front and center and that Imagine Dragons’ groove is heard yet again. The beat is controlled by the vocals that rise to introduce a catchy beat to follow. Claps engulf the tune and a simple disco guitar riff enters. There is a hip-hop flavor within that still remains in the rock genre. It is the underbelly that brings the song on a wild ride.

Whatever It Takes keeps the wails continuing onwards. Vocals re-enter in a funky flow. Choral arrangements ease the listener into an anthem of sorts. Endless grinds and uplifting elements are heard as the voices rise and the music swells around them. Dan is preaching. The listener is a patron of their musical congregation. Echoes and even more ethereal rock vibes are the body of this work. Whatever It Takes is foot stomping music to revel in.

Believer offers classic Imagine Dragon drums to welcome the listener. Vocals then follow through with that riff behind. Their live set will be ideal for this tune as they will hopefully bring back those big drums into the equation. Pounding is in the heart of this bit. Their trademark choral harmonies remain as well. Imagine Dragons still find a way to hold onto their style. Quick lyrics fueled by power give a strange 80s feel with a modern 2017 touch. Is there a hint of protest music here?

In Mouth of The River ethereal choral arrangements initiates the song until the scuttling beats enter. Pop-rock returns and the men do what they do best and harmonize to no end. This song is Imagine Dragons all the way.

Walking The Wire is one of those special treats in this album. Wandering keys start this one off again. Vocals are front and center. However, a new style is conveyed with the chorus and sudden 90s lyrical energy is felt. Harmonies with the chorus always gives the listener a boost of inspiration to do anything as it progresses.  Even if the lyrics do not match the thought process, it somehow has a feeling like everything is going to be ok and to keep pushing on. It is hopeful as it is nostalgic. There is depth to this song that is unheard of in the others. It resonates with the listener long after they have taken off their headphones.

In Rise Up somber keys start things off here. Another unique anthem is unveiled. Screams take over the song with a force. An intense aggressive feeling is conveyed. True to the song title, there seems to be a desire to fight back. In regard to the context, it may apply differently to each listener. Grinds and ever-present keys keep that catchy groove alive. It is both angry, sad and cautious. Moments take the listener forward and back to feelings across the spectrum. Keys are the send off with endless echoes.

Probably one of the most interesting tracks on the album is I’ll Make It Up To You. Vocals come in straight away. Oh man, this one is groovy. The beat behind catches the listener off their guard and their mind shifts to the song and to nothing else. This has 80s written all over it with the echoed vocals and lilting riffs. A sway and snap of the fingers are welcome. Soul-pop is the genre of choice for this song. Keys return and the falsetto vocals preach as always. An instrumental 80s pop sensation continues on for the remainder of the tune and is amazing. A sublime jam session.

Yesterday is the best track on ‘Evolve’ for many reasons. A classic piano pounding chorus focus is heard throughout. Folk-pop reminiscent of the 60s is tweaked a bit for the contemporary listener. Deep vocals are the centerpiece this time around as they carry the song to new depths. Piano keys supported by claps give the music an organic touch that is fluid. The men of Imagine Dragons must have a great group session with this one. A fiddle is introduced and musicianship continues to impress. Yesterday may be the only new surprise in the batch. Somehow, the men went back to musical roots with much praise. 

Is Thunder a dubstep rock bit? It is hard to make out the story here. The lyric, ‘thunder,’ is heard over and over again as chaos seems to reign. Another stand out song, this does not hold true to their style completely save for their echoed yells. Their harmonies meshed up with the cacophony of sounds is wild and overwhelming.

A catchy beat is never a bad way to take a listener into a new adventure in Start Over. This a is a funky groove made stronger by the classic vocals on top. Hopeful harmonies keep the listener happy and the energy goes on. Clapping is heard. Again, the message musically is a sense of rebirth and resistance in a subtle way without saying it right out. Whether it was planned or not with the current climate, listeners will hear a moment of humanity a call for a collective spirit.

Dancing In The Dark is not a cover of the Bruce Springsteen song of the same name. Twangy electric sounds are heard. Taking it down, the indie feel is apparent. Electronic overdubbing and alterations take over. They were trying something new that may not be entirely their signature sound. It is an experimental tune that focuses around the vocals rather than the harmonies and pop instrumentation. High-flying vocal style is attempted. Slow tempo and forlorn echoes are the musical tastes of choice.

‘Evolve’ is another rare treat for listeners this season. Musical empowerment is the name of the game and the optimism reigns on true to the Imagine Dragons persona. New fans and old will be able to pick out their ideal moments and absorb it all. Bring on the summer and be in musical bliss with ‘Evolve’.

Jam on.

Give Believer and Thunder a watch and a listen below:

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Written by Myles Hunt

Music fan, simple and sweet.

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