It feels like Brandon Flowers spent most of the promotional tour for the fifth Killers’ studio album apologising for their fourth album.
Back in July, he stated that the band’s previous record, ‘Battle Born’, was “aimless,” declaring he “wasn’t happy” with it. All this was to say that the next record, aptly titled ‘Wonderful Wonderful’, would be different: better and directed.
The lead single from the album was the delightful (maybe a send-up) ‘The Man’, where Flowers seems to explore his swaggering personal brand in the hopes of satirizing, mocking and reifying the personal he occupied since the band’s 2005 nuclear debut ‘Hot Fuss’.
All this means ‘Wonderful Wonderful’ is likely the most conscious Killers album ever, and when you’ve made a career out of making confident big-room music, applying even a veneer of meta-narrative can be fraught. The Killers built their career and fan-base on escapism: the power and the value of screaming, even asinine lines like “coming out of my cage and I’ve been doing just fine” in a group of strangers and friends. One may well find delight, even with the band’s later work, but one does not listen to The Killers to think deep thoughts exactly.
Album opener and title track ‘Wonderful Wonderful’ sounds as unapproachable and experimental as any killers song in recent memory. Not since the guitar-eschewing experiments on ‘Day & Age’ has the band broken such obvious new ground for itself.
The band derives much of its creative energy from an energetic solipsism. On the wonderfully bloated ‘Tyson vs Douglas’, Flowers worries about the fall of icons, including himself. He projects himself into Tyson’s shower after losing to Douglas, switching between Tyson’s perspective and his own.
As good a fifth album as most bands manage to achieve,’Wonderful Wonderful’ contains stellar moments such as ‘Tyson vs. Douglas’ and ‘The Man’ that are good enough to compete with the very best Killers’ songs. Additionally, it effortlessly succeeds in improving on their previous effort with a much tighter and musically diverse end product. While, after such gems as ‘Day & Age’ and their debut ‘Hot Fuss’, it might not be enough to convince fans it’s their best record, even at the worst of times, it manages to stay quite impressive.
Catch The Killers on tour:
6TH BIRMINGHAM, Genting Arena
10TH NEWCASTLE, Metro Radio Arena
13TH MANCHESTER, Arena
19TH LEEDS, First Direct Arena
20TH GLASGOW, The SSE Hydro
21ST ABERDEEN, GE Oil & Gas Arena
23RD NOTTINGHAM, Motorpoint Arena
25TH SHEFFIELD, Arena
27TH LONDON, The 02
28TH LONDON, The 02