Brandon Flowers: The Desired Effect (Island) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Brandon Flowers

The Desired Effect


Jul 14, 2015 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Who is Brandon Flowers, exactly? If the desired effect of his second solo album is to keep us from getting any idea whatsoever, then mission accomplished.

The initial impression here is that he wants to be Bruce Springsteen. That widescreen cinematic sound, the big, brash percussion and the earnest, rootsy vocal phrasings and song titles such as “Lonely Town” are all tell-tale signs of a man who wants to be the next great American storyteller.

The problem is that Flowers doesn’t really have enough personality of his own to nail that role down. For one thing, his lyrics are still endearingly rubbish: “Crime is on the rise/I still want you/Climate change is dead/I still want you/Nuclear distress/I still want you” he sings on “I Still Want You.” He also defers too many vocals to his backing gospel singers, and his synth pop sound does nothing to distinguish this from his work with The Killers.

Oddly, this is the album’s greatest strength. Flowers has never received the credit he deserves for his deft way with a melody and this album is packed full of them. On the highlight “I Can Change,” he enlists the help of Neil Tennant, and it sounds as though the Pet Shop Boys’ expertise has rubbed off. (

Author rating: 6/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10


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