Following in the slipstream of The Killers, Imagine Dragons are the latest rock band to emerge from Las Vegas and head off into stardom. The quartet, with vocalist Dan Reynolds as the only surviving founding member, released three EPs before finally being signed onto Interscope Records in late 2011. Yet another EP was then released and the album opener, It’s Time, was release as a single. Both did well in the US and created a positive buzz in the lead up to their album launch. Four years after starting out, Imagine Dragons released their debut LP, Night Visions to America in September 2012, with release set for February across Europe. Buoyed by the use of singles in advertisements and movie trailers, the album made a splash in the United States peaking at number two in the Billboard 200.
Night Vision’s opening track, It’s Time, is filled with delightful hooks and plays on the diversity of a mandolin along with hand-clapping. The hand-clapping brings about the perfect sound for stadium rock, the power of which sets the marker perfectly for the rest of the album. Despite a varied and diverse sound throughout the album, it appears that Imagine Dragons attempt to pinpoint an anthem’ish stadium-rock sound. If the first song of this band you heard was the single, Radioactive, you could be forgiven for thinking they were recreating drum and bass artists such as Pendulum. The power of this song is outstanding with heavy drums and more of an electronic feel than the rest of the album and strong, impressive vocals from front-man Dan Reynolds which are reciprocated throughout the LP.
Imagine Dragon’s Amsterdam
On Top Of The World is a truly uplifting, feel-good track with delicate harmonies throughout the choruses. It plays on layers of music culminating in what sounds like an outright joyous, sing-a-long celebration with whistling and hand clapping; quite a jaunty song with folk-rock elements. This is immediately followed up by Amsterdam, an apologetic croon set to a sympathetic and somewhat solemn baseline, crashing the mood, providing a huge contrast and taking the audience on an emotional roller coaster. Another track certainly worth a mention is the shortest of the LP, Demons. An excellently held vocal opening is soon joined by bellowing drums and another powerful chorus. This is one of the greatest examples on this album of quality lyrics. Most of the tracks are overshadowed by the depth and power of the music, but the more subtle verses of this track allows for flowing, intricate rhymes such as, ‘No matter what we breathe/ We all are made of greed.’ This steals some attention onto the lyrical ability of the band and shows yet another dimension to Imagine Dragons.
Overall, Imagine Dragons have penned an unbelievably powerful debut with plenty of promise. The sheer depth of the music on Night Visions is breathtaking and perfectly suited to the bigger venues they may soon be playing at. With the depth and power however, it was increasingly necessary for an equally reverberating vocal performance. Dan Reynolds delivers this in style, seasoning his lyrics suitably with raw emotion, particularly in Amsterdam, a powerfully emotional piece. This album, you feel, would not be the same without being fronted by Dan Reynolds, who carries the album perfectly. Night Visions effortlessly drifts from the depth and power of Radioactive, through the celebratory On Top Of The World and emotionally-driven wailing of Amsterdam. Whether purposefully or not, this created the perfect formula which resulted in an excellent announcement of Imagine Dragons arrival on the mainstream music scene.
Written by Jack Ryan
OurVinyl | Contributor
Imagine Dragon’s Radioactive