The Killers: Imploding the Mirage (Island) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Sunday, September 20th, 2020  

The Killers

Imploding the Mirage

Island

Aug 31, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Let’s face it: The Killers are an arena rock band. One for a new age, sure, but an arena rock band nonetheless. Hear me out. It’s true, arena rock got a bad rap for its high schlock factor, the towering anthems with big guitar, bigger vocals, and boisterous histrionics. Boston. Journey. Bands that made it huge with a capital H, until suffering an ignominious fate when their music became passé as trends passed them by. However, despite all the corn, these bands also represented fun and freedom, and most of all a melodic excess that, frankly, no longer needs to be shunned. This is where The Killers’ best songs have always resided. In the midst of monstrous melody and stadium grandeur. A full-fledged embrace of the arena.      

The Killers’ last album, 2017’s Wonderful Wonderful was something of an anomaly. Filled with experimentation, big beats, and an overall disco vibe, it set itself apart from what the band is largely known for. But a feel good rock band can’t be held down for long. Enter: Imploding the Mirage.     

The first four songs here are a tour de force, a mission statement that Brandon Flowers and company are no longer the ironic men of Wonderful Wonderful but more the horse and fast car of their 2012 album Battle Born. Or, if you will, the alien spaceship of Boston’s Don’t Look Back. “My Own Soul’s Warning” busts out of the gate with a building instrumental melody and big synthetic riff with driving pace and exploding chorus. “Blowback” teases its electronic backdrop before breaking into giant chorus melody backed by crying slide guitar and echo-y background vocals. “Dying Breed” opens with pulsating beat and plaintive vocals until erupting with instrumental exuberance at two minutes. And “Caution,” perhaps the biggest of them all, is propulsive and sing-along all the way, throwing in a ferocious guitar solo to boot.    

The Killers still has a way with a story song, but even those could be seen as harking back to the good old days: the bus-going, secret-keeping girl of “Blowback;” the “Rockwellian boy” and “tattooed and ready to deploy…dangerous type” girl of the title track. Call it Springsteen-ian if you will. But heck, the “featherweight queen” with “Hollywood eyes” of “Caution” might as well be the lonely small town girl who “took the midnight train goin’ anywhere” in “Don’t Stop Believin’.”    

Don’t be confused. None of this is pejorative. It simply is. Stadium rock filled a need in the ’70s, and one might argue that a similar need is present now. Enough pain and suffering, pandemic, pestilence, and institutionalized hate. What we just might need right now is a melody. A song. A big, giant uplifting one. Some hope provided in a sing-along. The Killers.  (www.thekillersmusic.com)  

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10



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