Imagine Dragons Origins
Do Imagine Dragons ever sleep? Not apparently.
Less than a year and a half after releasing the double-platinum album Evolve and crisscrossing the globe on a 100-date tour, the band is back with a dozen new songs. Whew. Origins is supposed to be a sister companion to last year’s monster Evolve and it’s an intriguing follow-up, offering more textures and sonic experiments.
Don’t let the first single, Natural, fool you. That slice of bombastic, fist-pumping bravado seems to indicate more of the same on Origins, but they drift into other areas, like the blissed-out summer jam Cool Out that could be on a DNCE album, and the gloriously anarchic, disruptive Digital, which plays with dub step and chops itself into pieces.
The album sees the Dragons again reteaming with producers Alex da Kid and Mattman & Robin — folks who have delivered some of the band’s biggest hits — but not doing more of the same.
Bullet in a Gun is fresh with unpredictable electronic flourishes, and the club-ready Only has interesting temp shifts and unexpected layered parts, as if the Dragons are fighting monotony this time. West Coast is basically a folky tune that could happily sit in a Lumineers album.
Lyrically, Origins dwells on modern-day alienation and the band’s own uncomfortable relationship to its own fame. The Dragons also explore a dehumanising digital world, like in their plea for Love, where Reynolds notes everyone tones out shocking news: “We put on our headphones.”
The new album extends the band’s flirtation with Charles Darwin — taking its name from On the Origin of Species and coming right after Evolve. In some ways, the names should be reversed: Origins shows their sound really evolving. — Mark Kennedy, AP