So, The Killers are back. Here is a review of said actions.
From the impending beeps it’s clear Flesh And Bone is a standout track on the album already, it remains my personal favourite, it has quite a bit of that synth still but its a general fist pump chorus that makes for standard killers brilliance. It also has a brilliant breakdown with some of the smoothest Flowers vocals in existence and a slight bit o’ funk.
Then comes Runaways, we all know how this one goes right? It’s a clear single from start to finish, granted it takes awhile to get going but when it does everything is all a bit stadium rock again.
To calm it all down come The Way It Was, the lyrics all scream ballad but it’s not quite there just yet, there is some rather nice guitar & backing vocals, it’s sort of the guilty pleasure one, i mean, who can resist a pleading Brandon Flowers anyway? and Here With Me, this however, is most definitely a ballad – piano pulse and all – it’s very bareable and almost quite good until the chorus, “don’t want your picture on my cellphone” definitely gets the worst Flowers lyrical achievement to date. If you can get past that, it’s pretty mediocre ballad-y drivel.
Moving swiftly on then, A Matter Of Time ups the tempo once more, possibly the worst intro on earth descends into a thunderous war cry of woahs and Uncle Johnny-esque guitar that make for insane drama and a really, really solid track. After this Deadlines And Commitments begins the 80s revival with the string synths and sitar-y vibes and another chorus you can’t help but sing (the prechorus too has the nicest vocal melody), it’s oh so mellow.
Then we are thrown back to 2001 with another revival, this time in the form of the ever faithful Mr Brightside, or Miss Atomic Bomb as we now know it, the similarities are subtle til the riff kicks in in the middle and it’s certainly a grower but it all comes together to create possibly the best relation between any tracks ever – with both being absolute hits, even if we have to wait a bit longer for it to kick in.
To cut it up at this point I will point out that the main flaw I have found in this entire album is exactly that, every track takes fucking forever to properly get going, if it is not established by 1.30 then it JUST GETS BORING. Spending half the album running time waiting to get to the bit where you can fist pump is a very bad thing, especially when it’s the killers – sort it out lads.
Anyway, back to the music, here is one that really does defy that rule, The Rising Tide, a vast improvement on that disastrous demo played live way back last year that is definitely another high point on Battle Born, from start to finish it is a tune – the real kind you can jump around too (which is what i expect from them as a standard thing really). Oh and that guitar solo….
Next we have Heart Of A Girl, it’s soothing and crooning but brilliant, it’s just a “nice” song in the purest form. From Here On Out then arrives and the country feel hinted at in the previous track is released into full flow, usually i am opposed to this kind of sound but it just works, it renews faith in the band after all the ballads & latecomers to make for another rock solid and importantly optimistic track. It’s single worthy if you ask me.
Penultimately, Be Still dumbs it all down again, it transports you to a church and is quite lovely and melodic for about a minute, then the exact melody from a section of Total Eclipse Of The Heart begins. If you’re anything like me that means you spend the next minute of the song sort of hysterically laughing at it and never taking the song seriously again – i know it’s meant to be a serious song but i do sort of hope they did laugh at it after or else we’re all doomed. The day The Killers do not realise they’ve gone Bonnie Tyler on us is an incredibly worrying one.
Finally we have Battle Born , you could not end an album on a better track, it starts with the most perfect guitar pattern to build up and the drop fools you into thinking it’s going to take another hour to be awesome again but it just radiates more and more defiance in every chorus & by the time the guitar returns your heart is full of Vegas pride. At this point i would like to give a nod to Dave Keuning, the guitar sounds like an insanely defiant Electric Counterpoint by Steve Reich which is my favourite ever guitar piece ever written. The track then just winds up as a crash of drums & bass & guitar with vocals overlapping & is by far one of, if not the best, track on the album.
There you have it, it’s not perfect but the more I listen, it’s far from ever being bad – just sort out them prolonged intros and you’re flying boys.
AT this point I would like you all to go on and listen to the Flesh & Bone remix because it is just drenched from start to finish and radiates the musical excellence of the Mr Brightside remix also done by Stuart Price that remains probably the best remix to ever exist. The Michel remix of Runaways is also a gem – they’re probably better than the actual tracks but don’t tell anyone I told you that.