Here’s a reprint of my review of the Imagine Dragons record.
Night Visions (Interscope)
Key Track: ‘Amsterdam’
SIN CITY HOPEFULS GUN FOR THE KILLERS’ CROWN
While you may not recognise the name, chances are, due to the media saturated world of modern times, you’ll all be well aware of Imagine Dragons’ music. Whether it’s soundtracking an ultra slick video game or adding a teary-eyed climax to some schmaltzy Kate Hudson rom-com, their music have been subliminally infiltrating our collective brain-cases for the last six months or so and now Europe finally gets to sample their debut album Night Visions. Already a hit in their native America pretty much since the day it was released on September 4, their music has provoked many a college frat boy to hold them tight to their chests and their unashamedly mainstream-bothering rock sound has drawn comparisons to fellow Sin City residents the Killers, with some suggesting that Imagine Dragons are ready to take over from where Brandon Flowers’ mob left off.
So is the album any good? Well, kinda. When it comes to mixing up genres and styles, the boys have got balls as big as King Kong and indie rock (‘Hear Me’) dubstep (‘Radioactive’) nu folk (‘It’s Time’) and afrobeat (‘Cha Ching (Till We Grow Older)’) all happily nuzzle up beside one another comfortably. However, much of the material is like having a Battenberg cake with a cup of tea-it’s nice but not exactly essential and the blatant (admittedly successful) attempts at romancing the radio with safe, sanitised stadium-friendly choruses suggests their hunger for fame is stronger than their talents.
When they get it right though, Imagine Dragons do sound like bona fide big league contenders. ‘Amsterdam’ is an indie powerhouse of a tune in the vein of the Envy Corps, while the hand-clap and mandolin-led ‘It’s Time’ will be inescapable this summer, and deservedly so as it’s cerebral pop at its best. With Coldplay and more starting to step back a little from the stadium rock scene, Imagine Dragons’ debut definitely marks them out as the band most likely to take over from where they left off. Watch this space.