An­o­dyne rock-pop jug­ger­naut bar­rels on

The Guardian - G2 - - Reviews Music - Alexis lexis Petridis tridis

If you like mind-bend­ing statis­tics, then Imag­ine Drag­ons are very much the band for you. Their EDM-in­fused 2012 saga of apoc­a­lyp­tic dread, Ra­dioac­tive, is the longest-run­ning sin­gle in the his­tory of the Bill­board charts: 87 weeks on the Top 100. They are the most-streamed rock band in the world, with 37.5m monthly lis­ten­ers on Spo­tify: stitch that, Cold­play, with your pal­try 27.5m. Their de­but al­bum, Night Vi­sions, spent five years on the US charts, the kind of suc­cess that en­abled peo­ple to call its fol­low-up, Smoke & Mir­rors, “com­mer­cially un­der­whelm­ing” be­cause it only sold 1m copies in the US. Nor­mal ser­vice was re­sumed with 2017’s Evolve, en­tic­ingly de­scribed by the band’s lead singer, Dan Reynolds, in true cau­tion-to-the-wind style, as “a more palat­able al­bum for this gen­er­a­tion and this time pe­riod”. It spawned the sin­gles Be­liever and Thun­der, col­lec­tively streamed 1.6bn times.

They have achieved all this while main­tain­ing an al­most en­vi­able de­gree of anonymity. Theirs is not a suc­cess founded on a strik­ing image, in­ef­fa­ble charisma or brain-sear­ing vis­ual brand­ing. Nev­er­the­less, the scale of their com­mer­cial tri­umphs has clearly left its mark, not least in the de­gree of por­tent with which they now de­scribe their work. There’s none of your “more palat­able al­bum for this time pe­riod” in re­gard to Evolve’s suc­ces­sor, Ori­gins. “When we cre­ate, we cre­ate with no bound­aries, no rules,” Reynolds said in ex­pla­na­tion. “We find it thrilling to make mu­sic that feels dif­fer­ent and new to us.”

Lis­ten­ers suit­ably primed for a bound­ary-break­ing shift from the hook-laden, elec­tronic pop-rock that has so far fu­elled Imag­ine Drag­ons’ oeu­vre should per­haps note that the band’s first stop on its jour­ney to new ground was to as­sem­ble a col­lec­tion of pro­duc­ers and co-song­writ­ers

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