When they started, Las Vegas-based The Killers reeked of the seedy, sequined glamour of the Strip. Three LPs later, they’ve morphed from indie club-night heroes into arena-slaying demi-gods. The pressure of such a rise led to an inevitable hiatus in 2010, during which frontman Brandon Flowers and drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr both pursued solo projects. Now reunited, the four-piece return in grand fashion with Battle Born.
The bombast of ‘Flesh and Bone’ and triumphant gallop of ‘Runaways’ immediately call to mind 2006 album Sam’s Town, rather than the most recent offering Day & Age. Unlike that last record, which lost its momentum halfway through, the quality of Battle Born doesn’t waver. Instead of songs about neon tigers and aliens, the 31-year-old Flowers turns his lyric-writing impulse inwards, reminiscing about the pulse-quickening thrill of lust’s first flush, as well as contemplating the weight of adult responsibility. But for all his rosy-tinted ruminations on the ease of early life, Flowers keeps faith in the moment. The ’80s-tinged ‘Deadlines and Commitments’ and his ode to long distance love, ‘Here with Me’, are both lighters-aloft moments with brass and string arrangements to make you feel alive.
Subtlety is not The Killers’ forté, yet they’ve managed to create intimacy here. This album simultaneously offers solace to the individual and a solid gold singalong for the masses. Kim Taylor Bennett