Historically, there's a progression that bands usually follow before their sound goes full-on arena rock. Things will start small and gritty, and then as the fame and crowds build, the sound changes to match the massiveness of the venues. However, on their debut album, Imagine Dragons buck tradition and swing straight for the cheap seats, doing away with generations of sonic evolution in favor of the huge, arena-made sound of Night Visions. Dramatic and sweeping, the Las Vegas band works in the same vein as pop giants Coldplay, offering up track after track of hooky and emotional midtempo jams. While a move like this might seem overly ambitious for a freshman band, Imagine Dragons are able to pull the sound off, with songs like the already ubiquitous, seemingly soundtrack-ready "It's Time" having no trouble worming their way into whatever part of the brain it is that likes to trap songs against listeners' will. The problem is, while the band's electronically reinforced sound is definitely big, it sometimes feels as though it lacks depth. Despite this, "Every Night" will certainly have some listeners unconsciously reaching for a lighter to wave in the air before they realize what they're doing, and it's exactly these kinds of surface pleasures that we turn to pop music for in the first place. What this means is that even though Imagine Dragons might have skipped a few steps along the way to their arena sound, Night Visions is still an album that, at least for a few minutes at a time, will make everyday life seem just a little bit bigger.
AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney