Las Vegas, NV rock band The Killers released its fourth studio album, Battle Born on September 18th. I listened to the whole thing last week in iTunes, but it was hard to make something of what the group had done since I couldn't listen to the individual tracks. After a thorough listen this morning, I've gathered some thoughts on the album.
[dropcap]S[/dropcap]tarting with "Flesh and Bone" was a good choice and it kicks off the album perfectly. This track has a different feel than The Killers' older releases, but I like the new synths and dynamics of it.
Things then change into a sort of classic Killers feel in the second track, "Runaways". The beginning of the song has a muted electric guitar riff that's perfect for the song itself, but the lyrics aren't anything special. "I knew that when I met you, I'm never gonna let you runaway," one line goes. They're not terribly mainstream, but they're also nothing special or unique.
"The Way It Was" starts playing next with a classic rock beat and a background guitar loop, then things turn into something unexpected: lead singer Brandon Flowers has an echo effect on his voice and all instruments but the guitar loop have faded out — it's present throughout the entire song and never changes. Move on to the chorus and things start sounding like 1970s rock band The Eagles. The backup vocalists even fill in the blanks that Flowers leaves. Then there's the bridge, which is a mix between the chorus and a repeated "Darling".
After things from track three fade out, "Here With Me" makes its entrance with a reverb-heavy piano and a backing synth pad. Again, Flowers' voice is echoing all throughout the entire song to sound emotional. Then comes the echoing hollow synth, but it's no "Spaceman". In fact, the whole album has this problem and it eventually gets redundantly annoying. Lyrics-wise, "Here With Me" is exactly what you'd expect: "I don't want your memory in my head, I want you here with me." That and talk of pictures in mobile phones repeats to get the point across. In the second verse, the backing vocalists again echo Flowers' words in a classic rock style, which is also too present in this album.
"A Matter of Time" begins with a familiar electric guitar chord progression and backing synth. It sounds like something from the last generation and then "whoa oh oh oh oh" in the verse helps bring you back to the old days in a way. Then there's the usual Killers beat and synth, but things seem to have changed, save for the usual lyrics that Brandon Flowers enjoys using.
Those are the first five tracks. The rest are too quiet ("Deadlines and Commitments"), over emotional (all of them), and want-to-be epic ("Miss Atomic Bomb"). The Killers has changed a lot since Day & Age, and even more so since good old Hot Fuss. There's no more "Mr. Brightside" or "Spaceman" to be found; they've been replaced with "Runaways" and "The Rising Tide". I see no appeal in The Killers' new sound. Even "Heart of a Girl", a song that started with the same chord progression as the group's cover of Dire Straits' "Romeo and Juliet", fails to be convincing and is lacking the appeal their music once had. Upbeat songs ("From Here on Out" is the only one other than the album's first two tracks) are depressing at best.
Score: 5/10There's a new sound coming from Las Vegas' rock and synth band. It's emotional, sad, and much different than anything the band has released before. There's not even a reason to label it rock since half the songs are more easy listening than playable in a car with windows down.
You can purchase Battle Born from Amazon using this link if you'd like a percentage to be contributed to the efforts of Papermail.