wed 21/11/2018

CD: The Killers – Battle Born | reviews, news & interviews

CD: The Killers – Battle Born

CD: The Killers – Battle Born

Brandon Flowers gets back to his rock roots with his old gang

The Killers: More soaring songs about girls and cars, with a little help from Jimmy Carr

The showbiz titibit that has intrigued me more than any other in recent weeks is the story that comedian Jimmy Carr helped to inspire one of the tracks on The Killers’ fourth album. The Lloyd Cole lookalike apparently suggested to Brandon Flowers over dinner that the next album to make a breakthrough would be looking at the problems of the economy. Imagine Jim Davidson giving tips to Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Flowers took note, went away and returned with "Deadlines and Commitments".

Battle Born comes after an extended break for the band and refines the quartet’s increasingly trad pedal-to-the-metal guitar-driven romanticism. After a few gentle electronic bleeps on the opening "Flesh and Bone" this is an album that gallops along at such a heady pace one has to hold on to the metaphorical reins for dear life. It is about as mainstream as rock gets, coming perilously close to poodle-permed power ballad territory on "Here With Me" and finding Flowers doing a serviceable junior Springsteen on "The Way it Was" and the recent soaraway single, "Runaways".

When it comes to the lyrics the dozen songs are rammed with dramatic clichés. The Killers seem incapable of resisting epic overkill. Welcome to a cinematic world of broken dreams, escape, Elvis, deserts and thieves stealing hearts. Yet somehow Flowers pulls it off, as if partaking in some kind of meta-Spinal Tap parody. Maybe there is nothing here that shakes one up as vigorously as "Mr Brightside" or "Bones" but those songs did set the bar very high. As for the Carr-triggered "Deadlines and Commitments", there is an eerily biblical sentiment to the line "if you should fall upon hard times... there is a place in this house that you can stay". Despite Jimmy Carr's involvement, it has nothing to do with Inland Revenue deadlines and tax payment commitments.

Follow Bruce Dessau on Twitter

Watch The Killers perform "Mr Brightside"

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