Review: The Killers – Imploding the Mirage
National Music Reviews
Imploding the Mirage
The Killers = The War On Drugs + The Cars + Bruce Springsteen
Glamorous indie-rock trio The Killers are back with their seventh studio album, Imploding the Mirage, and it’s more unashamedly ’80s power-pop than ever before. Frontman Brandon Flowers has always attributed the band’s sound to early inspirations such as The Cars and Pet Shop Boys, and that’s been an underlying truth to all their previous releases. Now, they’re throwing it right in your face. Imploding the Mirage delivers one anthem after another, serving you huge choruses and powerhouse synthesizers on a silver platter.
On the album opener, “My Own Souls Warning,” robust winds howl in single notes as I’m surrounded by the talkative buzz of a desert night. Cinematic hums of rising horns and gospel synthesizers fade in as the church doors swing open and Flowers reverently delivers the first chorus. Continuing its build, a fuzzy, low-end instrument plays in harmony with a glittery xylophone while rumbling toms burst into the main hook, and a catchy synth lead boldly takes the wheel and puts the song in drive. Absorbed by this feeling, the music rushes over me like a cool, alleviated breeze.
Rather than turn down, the next two tracks, “Blowback” and “Dying Breed,” keep the pulse of the album alive while also incorporating nostalgic elements of the classic Killers formula: Backing choirs, twangy guitar riffs, fuzz-rich bass lines thump along to the drumming of Ronnie Vannucci Jr., whose fantastic playing is executed with dynamic layering of perfectly placed fills and open hi-hats.
Flowers harnesses his inner Boss on “Caution,” a true rock anthem amid a collection of anthems. Flowers’ performance on this track is best put in his own words, as he “goes straight from zero to the fourth of July.” I even caught Flowers tipping his hat to Paul Simon on this track with the first line of verse two singing, “She never had a diamond on the soul of her shoes.”
Appealing to my inner experimental loving weirdo, “Fire In Bone” easily blossomed into one of my favorite Killers songs of all time. Strange sounds flourish around my head, panning inside and out like the music video for Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer.” Grooving above the myriad of noise is an envelope-kissed bassline that hangs onto the groove almost religiously.Vannucci parades more glitz by way of dancing triangle and deep, retro fills that dramatically accentuate the fearless furor of Flowers’ vocal runs and lyrical umph, comparable to that of Talking Heads’ David Byrne.
Imploding The Mirage is the first album to be written and recorded since the band left their hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada, and began working between Park City and Los Angeles. Despite the move, the band continues to indulge in the themes of the Sin City. Similar to their sophomore album Sam’s Town and Flowers’ debut solo album Flamingo, the albums’ title is in reference to The Mirage Hotel and Casino, which is located at the northern end of the iconic Las Vegas strip. Whether you’ve been a fan of The Killers in the past or not, or if you’re like me and you kind of fell off the bandwagon for a little while, then give this album a listen. It’s the strongest album they’ve released in a while, and I believe it has a song for everyone. –Paul Michael Zuniga!