The Killers – Battle Born
Formed in 2001, the success The Killers have achieved since, is indisputable. Emerging as a brazenly important band following the triumph of 2004 album Hot Fuss, expectation has been high by those looking forward to new material.
New album Battle Born is a refinement and crystallisation of all previous efforts. The result is a record with catharsis seeping through every note. The production on title track Flesh & Bone gives the instruments more space, which in turn accentuates skill and improvement. Although this track is reminiscent of earlier material, it seems older and wiser. More sophisticated. The Killers have honed their ability to be urgent and primitive and instead added nuance and depth.
At its peak, Runaways reaches greatness. The incongruous experimentation with modern tech is in stark contrast with the clean-cut vocals of front-man Brandon Flowers. This 4-minute opus counts easily amongst the best material The Killers have penned.
The hunger and passion that first excited us about The Killers is back in abundance on Battle Born. The silky smooth hook of Miss Atomic Bomb is balanced delicately atop electronic stutters. Its focussed melody reinforces the notion of The Killers as songwriters, as opposed to sonic adventurers.
Unfortunately, Battle Born fails to keep up this momentum and songs such as The Rising Tide and Be Still lack the ability to lock the listener as they wander aimlessly towards their long-winded conclusions. However, these shapeless tracks are just a small disappointment on an otherwise skilful effort.
From Here on Out awakens the slumping middle section. The stomping bass drum underpins a killer melody that’s not too overworked or overcomplicated. Manic and electrifying, it’s perfect glistening pop to a perfectly crafted album rich in just about everything.
Standout track: Runaways