It would seem that Brandon flowers has put his experimentation with a solo career and feathery jackets on hold. Yes, after four years in the dark, The Killers have emerged clutching Battle Born, an album which had unintentionally promised so much. But the Nevada heroes who brought you exhilarating fast paced indie anthems like Somebody Told Me have eased off the accelerator, instead opting for a more low tempo, docile sound. While Journey-esque tour de force Runaways signified The Killers back to their anthemic best, Battle Born is not as war hungry as its name suggests.
For one thing, Flowers has become more of a storyteller. Putting on his best Springsteen front, Heart Of A Girl is fable of broken Vegas dreams while Deadlines And Commitments is a Braveheart-style rally against the hardships of the credit crunch. The brisance of his solo project is still settling upon tracks such as The Way It Was and Here With Me, with similar heartfelt croonings to those on Flamingo. With the City of Sin being one of the main focus points of the album, you could say that after the hit and miss space oddity of Day & Age, Battle Born is something of a homecoming for the band.
Despite recycling the unmistakeable guitar lines from Mr. Brightside, Miss Atomic Bomb sees the band proving that they still have a knack for producing a sizzling chorus. It’s a weird pick-and-mix of influences; there are flirtations with country and western in the slide guitar of From Here On Out, The Rising Tide recalls the 80’s synthpop of Duran Duran and throughout, there’s a thin veneer of Meat Loaf-y operatics.
It can’t be denied that there is heart here, but it’s overshadowed by the hate-to-love 80’s corniness about the whole affair, to the point that you might find yourself half tempted to grow a mullet and stick Ferris Bueller’s Day Off on. Still, if you’re prepared to give into the indulgence, then Battle Born is a roaring success.