The album opens with the single ‘Radioactive’, which listeners will recall from the advert for the video game ‘Assassin’s Creed’; nevertheless this song is undoubtedly the standout track of the album and deserves to be separated from its commercial label. ‘Radioactive’ takes you on an emotional journey through the eerily haunting introduction to the intense remainder of the song which reverberates a raw and animalistic feel through its utilisation of heavy, tribal drums and an electronic-dub background.
However, this dark and abrasive tone is unique to the opening track, as the atmosphere of the album rapidly changes to a more conventional alternative/soft rock template.
Although the album does successfully create an arena-rock esque sound through a succinctly beautiful fusion of power and contemplative gentleness, Imagine Dragons fail to navigate away from what they evidently know so well, thus creating an album which lacks depth in terms of its musical diversity.
As a result, despite creating such an interesting ambience centred on the oxymoronic tone of optimistic and inspiring melancholy found in the majority of their tracks (bar exceptions such as ‘Radioactive’ and ‘On Top of the World’), the initial relaxing vibe soon shifts to bland repetition. Consequently, in spite of each track displaying interesting and unique features such as the combination of piano and mandolin infused harmonies heard in the single ‘It’s Time’, your attention toward this sophisticated breed of indie rock wavers at the latter end of the album due to its monolithic nature.
Thus, whilst Imagine Dragons have manufactured a fool-proof formula for creating soothing and cathartic indie brilliance, a more reflective view of the album as a whole causes the listener difficulty when attempting to descriptively distinguish between each of the tracks.
Nevertheless it should be remembered that this is a fairly impressive account for a first album and so I think it is fair to say that Imagine Dragons have the potential to evolve and broaden their musical horizons.
Standout tracks: Radioactive, On Top of the World, and It’s Time.