Imploding the Mirage: The Killers
In the mid 2000s, The Killers burst onto the music scene with their homages to British pop and rock (2004’s ‘Hot Fuss) and widescreen American anthems (2006s Sam’s Town). Both were fantastic albums, with ‘Mr Brightside’ from Hot Fuss becoming a party classic played ever since, at birthday parties, discos, and sporting celebrations everywhere (see below). Some of the other tracks like ‘All these things I’ve done’ were even better. With huge hooks and chorus their songs aligned well with the brilliance of The Killers live, Flowers certainly is a natural frontman. I still remember fondly how brilliant they were in early 2004 at the tiny venue that is ‘The Garage’ in London, and how whenever I have seen them in much larger venues they retain their collective power to entertain.
Whilst subsequent albums had their moments (Human from 2008s Day & Age being another classic), The Killers have not been able to reach their early career high, rather cementing their reputation as a consistently great live act and producers of uplifting pop-rock with touches of Springsteen, various Britpop acts, Dire Straits and even Meatloaf. However, by their last album, 2017’s hubris filled and bloated ‘Wonderful Wonderful’, their recorded material clearly seemed to suffer from the dreaded diminishing return syndrome.
So to their 6th album proper – and have The Killers arrested their slide to mediocrity? Well the bad news is that it is more of the same, the good news is that it’s an improvement on their previous effort. With some interesting guests on board, including KD Lang, Weyes Blood and Adam Granduciel from The War on Drugs, Brandon Flowers and co have clearly wanted to show they are eclectic, even if most of the tracks on the Imploding the Mirage follow the same template…basically a quirky, interesting intro, building to a big chorus where Flowers can show off his best passionate holler and then repeat. Take track 2, ‘Blowback’ – stabbing, squelching synths at the start turn into a killers-by-numbers track.
Some of the other tunes shine a little more, namely opening track ‘My Own Soul’s Warning’ and the very War on Drugs and rhythmic ‘Running Towards a Place’ which is an album highlight.
But besides the fact a few of the songs are quality pop-rock, you get to the end of Imploding the Mirage and it is entirely just ok. Not terrible, not bad on the ear, just another killers album. Not that it’ll matter, most loyal fans will love it and they can include a couple of the tracks on the next tour whenever hopefully that will be. Either way, 90% of the audience will want ‘Mr Brightside’ anyway. Let’s hope by the next album The Killers can take a few more risks, and make their ‘Achtung Baby’ – for to be remembered as the legendary band Flowers clearly wants them to be, this transition is now overdue.
Key Tracks: My Own Soul’s Warning, Caution, Running Towards a Place