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The Killers’ Fourth Album Battle Born is Fun but Dated, Says the Critics

Posted on the 18 September 2012 by Periscope @periscopepost
The Killers' front man Brandon Flowers. Photo Credit: Flickr The Killers’ front man Brandon Flowers. Photo Credit: Flickr

The background

The Killers impressed us all with their first two albums. They were a dab hand at rocky anthems that we’ve, for the most part, taken to our hearts. But after a disappointing third record and a brief, and largely unsuccessful flirtation with a solo career from frontman Brandon Flowers, The Killers have a lot to prove with their latest offering Battle Born, four years in the making. According to the critics, it is not exactly worth the wait.

Springstein without the politics

The Financial Times noted that The Killers are on the iPods of both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. With this in mind, it is interesting to note that the album appears to be without any politics: “The Nevada quartet’s first album in four years sits on the white picket fence, channelling Bruce Springsteen’s heartland rock while carefully side-stepping Springsteen-style politics… there’s none of the blue-collar theatrics of the Boss’s recent Wrecking Ball.” “The Killers may not have much to say but they’ve honed the art of the stadium singalong,” concluded the newspaper.

Back to the Eighties?

NME also observed a Springsteen connection in the new album which, “like Springsteen’s ‘Darkness On The Edge Of Town’ – is a record full of stirring tales of lost teenagers, broken families, crushed dreams, shattered hearts and breadline living.” However, the favourable comparisons ended there.  ”The Killers discard ‘indie’ pretense and go for the arena-rock jugular,” sniped NMEThe Guardian said “the cheese is amped so far that what this really sounds like is the soundtrack to some lost 90s Disney film… the harder they strain for grandiloquence, the more ridiculous the Killers sound.” The Independent was hardly more positive, calling the album “a massive empty shell, a big expensive nothing” whilst also observing the 80s time warp: “there’s barely a song on Battle Born which doesn’t sound like it could play over the closing credits to The Karate Kid or Beverly Hills 90210

Still something for the fans 

The album may not be pleasing the critics but, according to The Evening Standard’s John Aizlewood, the band is still a force to be reckoned with. Reviewing The Killers’ recent gig at London’s HMV Forum, he observed, “how we’ve missed them without really noticing.” And it appears that the new material is a hit with fans: “The new material boded well, most notably the multi-layered gigantic chorus and vocal climax of ‘Miss Atomic Bomb’, where Flowers and band mates showered each other with harmonies. ‘Here With Me’ was as grandiose as a Queen ballad. “What did you think?” asked Flowers afterwards, uncharacteristically insecure. We thought it was just fine.”

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