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Imagine Dragons

Las Vegas, Nevada has come of age in terms of alt-pop/rock music in recent times (at the top of the petite heap: The KILLERS), and the Brit-pop-styled pretenders to the throne, IMAGINE DRAGONS might well chew up and spit out their competitors in the ensuing years.
Actually formed in Provo, Utah, while all five – vocalist Dan Reynolds, guitarist Wayne Sermon, bassist Ben McKee and husband-and-wife team Andrew and Brittany Tolman – attended Brigham Young University between 2008 and 2009. Inspired by COLDPLAY and ID’s fellow desert rockers, The KILLERS, songwriter Reynolds and band surfaced from the Battle Born studios with three download EPs, `Imagine Dragons’, `Hell And Silence’ and `It’s Time’; the latter led by a song that would rocket into the Top 20 six months after their Alex Da Kid-produced debut for Interscope Records, `Continued Silence’, hit No.40. Andrew and Brittany had already bailed by this time, replaced in July 2011 by drummer Dan Platzman and short-stop, Theresa Flaminio.
Helped along the way by award-winning video promos, the bright and summery IMAGINE DRAGONS’ first album, NIGHT VISIONS (2012) {*6}, soared to No.2; radioplay for the passionate and hooky Top 10 breaker, `Radioactive’, kept it in the charts for months. Released in Britain the following April, the set emulated its homeland success, and with tracks like `Every Night’, `Demons’, the very CHAMELEONS-like `Amsterdam’ and the aforementioned hits, one could predict hot things ahead for the ‘Dragons.
Chris Martin must be thinking someone’s cloning him when he sleeps; KODALINE’s Steve Garrigan and, in some respects, IMAGINE DRAGONS’ Dan Reynolds coming in for a bit of “Stars In Their Eyes” flak. But that’s where the similarities part company. Listening to the infectious R&B overtones on chart-topping follow-up SMOKE + MIRRORS (2015) {*7}, ID are indeed slicker and more dramatic, as `Summer’, `Gold’ and `Friction’ would testify. In heavenly hit single, `I Bet My Life’, and the searching title track (plus 80s-styled `Shots’), grandiose arena alt-rock is here to stay.
While some their electro-pop peers lost ground, the festival-friendly IMAGINE DRAGONS were still breathing fire into the charts with a string of fresh hits; namely `Sucker For Pain’ (with LIL WAYNE and WIZ KHALIFA from the Suicide Squad OST) and album taster, `Believer’. The set in question, EVOLVE (2017) {*6}, chalked up another transatlantic Top 3 entry for Reynolds and Co, who was just about to turn 30 like his older band mates. The quirky `Thunder’ and the tongue-twisting white boy rap of `Whatever It Takes’ continued a chart surge for the infectious dance-rock balladeers in their effervescent uber-digital phase of pop.
Accused again of being lost in their own identity clause, IMAGINE DRAGONS’ fourth hit album, ORIGINS (2018) {*5}, somewhat belied its title. The saying too many cooks spoil the broth had meaning to Reynolds and Co’s genre-bending cross-pollination between pop, hip-hop and err… rock. Sure there was merit in sing-a-long singles, `Natural’, `Machine’ and `Bad Liar’. However, for many grown-ups, ID’s blend of AVICII-meets-COLDPLAY-meets-MAROON 5 was all too nauseating.
© MC Strong/MCS Apr2013-Nov2018

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