Review: Imagine Dragons Meet Swedish Pop Gurus, Self-Flagellation Ensues

Our take on 'Evolve,' the latest from the Las Vegas rockers

Imagine Dragons' latest is 'Evolve.' Credit: Eliot Lee Hazel

With their can't beat 'em, join 'em approach to mass market rock anthems, Las Vegas stadium rulers Imagine Dragons build their third LP with Swedish minimalist-pop mechanics Mattman & Robin, who gave the rock-ish personas of Tove Lo and Gwen Stefani sexy shine. But their spacious productions are an odd fit for Dan Reynolds' tortured dude-isms; the single "Believer" turned his "pain!" howl into a Roman coliseum-scale blood chant. His demand "Whip, whip, run me like a racehorse" on the Joel Little-produced "Whatever it Takes," meanwhile, is more spring training than "Venus In Furs." Redeeming moments come via Alex Da Kid, producer of the Dragons' mega-hit "Radioactive." See "Yesterday," a sulk-fest whose boozy stomp and goofy guitar solo actually sound like a band having fun, rather than stoic engineers of content delivery systems.