The Killers - Battle Born
- By Jon Bye -
- Sep 18, 2012
It's the case that 2012 will perhaps be remembered as the year when two of the world's biggest bands fought hard against each other to decide which of them could sound more like Queen. While Muse struck first with their bombastic and daft Olympic theme, 'Survival', The Killers new album 'Battle Born' goes a long way to nail down the balladry and harmonies of the rock legends and steal the Freddie 'tache crown off the top lip of Matt Bellamy's smug face.
Ok, maybe that's not fair (on either band). But it's fair to say to that ever since their spunky and era-defining first album, 'Hot Fuss', The Killers have struggled to match it with a coherent sound. They've certainly wandered in and out of amazing songwriting, but never settled into a rhythm. Battle Born continues the trend sounding like a mismatched mix of 'Day and Age' (title track 'Battle Born', 'Miss Atomic Bomb'), Brandon Flowers' solo effort 'Flamingo' and bad notes of 80s soft rock ('The Way it Was'), not to mention the aforementioned rock legends whose presence lingers large over all here.
Perhaps old age has softened this band, but there's an unnecessary amount of soft sentimentalism on this album. There's a tale of runaway lovers on, er, 'Runaways'. Then there's 'Here with Me' - so nauseating even Bon Jovi would have to hold back from blowing chunks.
Very occasionally, all these otherwise terrible elements come together in an acceptable manner. 'Deadlines and Commitments' manages a passably catching number that's somehow reminiscent of late Fleetwood Mac. 'Be Still' in contrast slows things down, allowing Flowers' voice to come to the fore over haunting synth lines.
As is guessable by now, this reviewer is not particularly impressed with Battle Born. This isn't the edgy Killers he grew up listening to and doesn't come close to providing the same enjoyment. Equally, I can recognise that it will entertain some people – probably the same people who enjoy Radio 2 during the day. The soft rock direction on this new album will prove the hook for them. Frankly, I find it tremendously disturbing. More than any other album this year, Battle Born proves the old maxim 'each to their own'. You can take it, because frankly I'll leave it.
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