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Review: Imagine Dragons – Night Visions

A highly ambitious and finely crafted major label debut from a band you're already singing along with.

Johnny Firecloudby Johnny Firecloud


Finally, Las Vegas lets loose one of their own that doesn't wither in the face of The Killers – they're called Imagine Dragons, and you've been singing their breakthrough radio song for a while now, whether you realize it or not. The band's full-length debut LP gives us one hell of a first full impression, and after inking a deal with Interscope sub-imprint KIDinaKORNER frontman Dan Reynolds and crew are wasting no time or opportunity in laying out the full spectrum of their capabilities.

The rom-com-crescendo soundtrack of “It’s Time” – dripping with influence from producer Alex da Kid, was a radio smash from inception, possessing all the right marks for an emotive powergrab, with a mandolin spin that pushes it into more curious territory than the standard heartstrain hits. The formula gets a heavier hand on tracks like "Fallen" or “Every Night,” with big drums and handclaps, hitting radio marks without dumbing down the chemistry.

Watch the video for "It's Time":

Night Visions is packed with magnetic hooks and massive drum architectures, making for a well-muscled percussive record of hits-in-waiting. The limitations of character within the forest of the songs reels in the grandiosity of ambition, for a balanced affair through a wild ride of variety.

Many of the best moments from their debut LP are actually reworked & supercharged versions of songs from their Continued Silence EP, which arrived on Valentine's Day of this year, and earlier – a full third of Night Visions, actually. “Demons” and “On Top Of The World” bring a new power and edge to their initial design, providing an added buoyancy to that established by the reworked tracks longtime fans will recognize & celebrate, including older tunes “Hear Me” and “Amsterdam”. 

Opening throb "Radioactive," meanwhile, sexes up the dub-flirtation with a verse hingeing on the line “this is it, the apocalypse” and a triumphant chorus, with more than a few shades of Hip-Hop in the production. It's radio-ready as they come, and it becomes clear in the contrasting but equally FM-baiting "Demons," which sways through a lover's croon and dedication declaration.

It's not all a matter of swinging for arena fences and giving DJs intro room for their nonsensical plugjabber, though; the nine-minute-long “Nothing Left to Say/Rocks” puts you in the car and drives, and lyrical relation or not, the epic hits hard after 3:30 when Reynolds layers different melodies to fill your head completely.

Night Visions keeps you on your toes with a progression that is anything but linear, and maybe that's a matter of simply trying out all the dynamics they've got in the bag on their first full-length. But a balance is struck while venturing into experimental and even electronic territories, while holding a line back to familiar rock structures. Their greatest strength may lie in their sonic versatility, with a possession of a defined sound. For a debut, that's an electrifying accomplishment.

Keep up with the band and order Night Visions at the official Imagine Dragons site.