I’m just gonna come out and say what lots of people are on the Interwebs seem to be merely hinting at: Imagine Dragons sound a lot like fellow Las Vegas band The Killers, remade for the twenty-teens. Is it something in the water, or in the desert sands?
At any rate, Night Visions, the debut full-length album from this electro-influenced indie-rock band from Sin City, frequently offers distant echoes of Dave Keuning’s guitar work, and not-so-subtle similarities to Brandon Flowers’ emo-tinged vocals. At times, on songs like “It’s Time” and “Hear Me,” Dan Reynolds’ vocals sound so like Flowers that it evokes a double-take from many a listener. It isn’t all the time, but it’s enough to make us take notice.
Now, bands don’t always like to be compared to other bands (sorry, Imagine Dragons, if you happen to read this), but let’s just say this similarity isn’t necessarily a bad thing. True, some Killers die-hards might be offended and accuse the new band of imitation, but at the same time, if you like The Killers, you probably will like Imagine Dragons, too. The important thing is to sound authentic with what you do—and in my opinion, Imagine Dragons does. This doesn’t sound to me like an attempt to copy another band (if you were doing it intentionally, after all, why not at least pick a band outside your own home town?). Rather, this sounds like Imagine Dragons being who they are—just that the resemblances happen to be a bit uncanny.
If the opening tracks of Night Visions sound familiar to you, there’s likely a reason for it—I mean, besides the fact that you probably saw the trailer for The Perks of Being a Wallflower, in which the single “It’s Time” is featured. Actually, the first four tracks are lifted right off the band’s previous EP Continued Silence, so even if you weren’t specifically familiar with this band, but listen to Internet radio, you might have heard some of these songs already.
As to the music itself, it’s a great blend of the acoustic and the electronic, as well as a great balance between experimental and standard pop/rock structures. A lot of indie rock bands don’t care to be associated with EDM influences, and vice versa, but Imagine Dragons seem to wear both styles equally well. Ranging between the simple guitar opening of “Bleeding Out” and their tip-o-the-hat to dubstep in the opening track “Radioactive,” this band doesn’t come off as trying to embrace every style so much as perhaps refusing to be limited. They use whatever works to get their point across.
Night Visions isn’t a perfect debut by any stretch; at times it feels disjointed and fragmented, lacking a good flow between the tracks. But that’s a common issue with relatively new acts who are still finding themselves. The fact remains that with no less than four EPs to their credit (and a hit in the making with “It’s Time”, by far the standout track of the record), Imagine Dragons has earned their growing fan base by proving that they have the potential to reach a large audience. Given a little time (and perhaps some effort to distance their sound from The Killers just a little more), this band could very likely be a force to reckoned with in days to come.