If there was ever an album to be played on warm summer nights, it would be this one – Night Visions, the first studio album release from indie rock group Imagine Dragons. All of their music accomplishes the same, admirable goal: to spread good vibes through songs. In this area, they are truly masters of their craft. There is a certain grassroots appeal to the band; their music is simple yet effective. Although the compositions themselves may seem easy enough, the way in which they are orchestrated adds a whole new layer of color to the overall mural. With a rich blend of garage band instrumentation, electronica embellishments, and euphoric vocal melodies, Imagine Dragons has put forth one of the most definitively lighthearted and carefree indie rock releases this year.
Following in the path of groups like Passion Pit, Imagine Dragons has tapped into the tremendous audience of youths around the world that are seeking fun, cheerful melodies with an electronic influence. For me, a key element that distinguishes them them from their contemporaries is the main vocalist, Dan Reynolds. His voice is a welcome change from the typical sort of breathy, casual tone that usually appears in indie bands. In the case of Reynolds, the main vocals come across as extremely strong and confident. I can imagine them being placed on top of a heavy rock track and still coming across strong. This effect is emphasized on a track like “Bleeding Out,” where he soars above the song’s catchy progression, easily switching between his chest voice and falsetto range.
The album’s overall sound is consistent; the musical style doesn’t change dramatically between each track. By no means does this hurt its musical value, though. Sometimes, consistency is exactly what’s needed to make or break an album. The four musicians that make up Imagine Dragons clearly do not come from a background of complex, technically demanding songwriting, but there’s no need for that sort of skill set in this scene. Night Visions is about celebrating the approachability of music. It’s about rejoicing in the simple pleasures. It’s about musical therapy, and bringing together a community of passionate people. If any of this sounds appealing to you, then let Imagine Dragons help you shake loose and enjoy yourself.
Every song on Night Visions could be a radio hit. Every time you feel the momentum of the album starting to fade, it is suddenly renewed by the entrance of the next track. If you’re planning on going on a road trip anytime soon, take this CD with you. Be sure to blast it with the windows rolled down at every street corner as well…chances are anyone in listening range will thank you for it.
The first song you hear when you start the record is “Radioactive,” a charismatic opener that immediately changes the game. The first couple of seconds give you your daily dose of acoustic guitar noodling and dreamy vocal harmonies, but suddenly you’re hit with this deep, noisy wobble as the verse comes in. Okay, I legitimately did not expect that. Combine that with the ballsy voice of Dan Reynolds and you’ve got a truly unique opening anthem to a promising album. Well played, Imagine Dragons. “Tiptoe” brings in the cheerier side of electro pop with synth riffs that bring with them a wave of ’80s nostalgia, while “It’s Time” and “Demons” establish the band as versatile as a classic alternative rock outfit. By this time, you begin to realize that this album has just gotten you hopelessly hooked. Another masterful stroke of genius by the band. Sit back and enjoy this masterful collection of sounds, courtesy of Imagine Dragons.