Review Summary: If only what happened in Vegas stayed in Vegas...
2012 was the year that many indie and alternative artists hit it big. It was the year we saw artists such as fun., Gotye, The Lumineers, Of Monsters and Men and Mumford & Sons crack the upper half of the Billboard Hot 100. Among those lucky groups included Imagine Dragons, a four-piece group from Las Vegas. With four solid EPs under their name (including the excellent Continued Silence
) and a catchy and infectious first single "It's Time", Imagine Dragons' debut LP Night Visions
was highly anticipated.
Sadly, the album was not as good as their previous songs would suggest. Night Visions
relies on the quality of their Continued Silence
EP, and it shows. The albums best moments are clearly the first four songs, and three of them are from the aforementioned extended play. "Radioactive" opens the album on a strong note, with its heavy uses of dubstep and powerful vocals by Dan Reynolds, while "Tiptoe" lures you in with its addictive synth riff, and is the album's clear highlight. It sounds relatively darker when compared to some of the album's bouncier tracks. Reynolds' vocals also dominate the smash hit "It's Time", along with the mandolin riff, making up for the fact that the lyrics are rather cryptic (what the hell does "giving the commodities a rain check" mean?).
It sucks to see an album with such great potential like this one crash and burn, but for the most part, that's what happens. "On Top of the World" is too cheery and boring to be catchy, and "Amsterdam" clearly rips off "Tiptoe", synth riff and everything, but fails to capture any of its catchiness or emotion. "Fallen" channels stadium rock with its heavy drums and overblown vocals, but isn't catchy at all and just ends up being inane. The only highlight in the second half of the album is the nine-minute "Nothing Left to Say / Rocks", and even that can get a little tedious at times.
With all the passion and emotion that Reynolds brings to the first four tracks, you would expect a solid debut from these Las Vegas alt rockers. Unfortunately, after the first half settles in, the second half is full of boring, repetitive and redundant indie rock garbage that is nowhere near the quality of the first. Beneath all the hand-claps and cheery whistles are layers of stale and recycled ideas, slapped together at the last minute. See ya later, Gonad Migraines. Better luck next time.