Imagine Dragons' debut album "Night Visions" is loaded with hooky songs, two of which have already been hit singles and/or commercial jingles. "Radioactive" is the most inescapable of the batch, it's also the lead track on the CD. I hate to say this, but whenever I see that happening, a red flag goes up. "It's Time" is the song used for an Apple commercial, it's from an earlier EP and makes it to the debut on sheer momentum. Lead singer and primary emoticon Dan Reynolds heaps on the drama; you can tell these guys want to make it in the big time.
But. There's always a but. Why the ridiculous amount of built in distortion? The drums on "Radioactive" sound like the band put rubber pads on a mud slab and aimed for the biggest splat they could catch in the studio. When you've got a song as obviously catchy as this, why not play the song with real production instead of this amateurishly lo-fi bleating? If you think you're making a statement, you're not. It shows a certain lack of depth. When the band does match the songs to production that doesn't flatten the sound down to a pancake, you can hear the genuine ambition, like on "Nothing Left To Say" and the gentle, nearly folkish "On Top Of The World" (which reminded me of The Lumineers, of all bands).
Imagine Dragons could be the next big arena rock band. They've got the songs and the attitude that keeps "Night Visions" and it's gawdawful production from being a complete dumpster diver. I hope they can figure out how to use a studio by the time they get to the sophomore album.