- 26 Aug 20
Brandon & Co. get guest vocalists to bend to their stadium rock will with spectacular results.
If you’ve been suffering from stadium chorus deficit during Lockdown, fear not, because here come Las Vegas’ finest with a whole container load of them.
While they’ve spent their entire post-Hot Fuss career trying to match the bolt from the blue brilliance of that debut – rarely has a triumvirate been as holy as ‘Mr. Brightside’, ‘Somebody Told Me’ and ‘All The Things That I’ve Done’ – The Killers have proved themselves incapable of making a duff record and so it continues with official studio album number six, which is notable for its deployment of multiple guest vocalists.
If ‘Lightning Fields’ was written with k.d. lang specifically in mind it doesn’t show as Kathryn Dawn says, “Tonight Matthew, I’m Brandon Flowers” and acts out her own latent ‘80s AOR fantasies.
It’s a peach of a song with a half-inched Pet Shop Boys intro – seriously, it’s only a dog’s bark away from being ‘Suburbia’ – giving way to a barrage of synths and guitars of the squalling maelstrom variety.
If they weren’t banned under the 2020 United Nations Cliché Accord, I’d use terms like ‘viscerally thrilling’ and ‘everything including the kitchen-sink.’ Oh shit, that’s my extradition warrant to The Hague signed.
The dawn of MTV vibe is added to by lead single ‘Caution’, which introduces us to the “Featherweight Queen who has Hollywood eyes but can’t shoot what she sees” and courtesy of Lindsey Buckingham’s jangle could be the Mac in particularly frisky mood.
Weyes Blood also bends to The Killers’ will rather than the other way around on ‘My God’, a biiiiiigggggg chantalong anthem, which Will Ferrell probably wishes he had at his disposal for The Story Of Fire Saga.
Before Killers fans put their pens to paper/fingers to keyboard, I’m merely complimenting their heroes on writing a song so insanely hummable and universal it could win Eurovision.
‘My Own Soul’s Warning’ nods furiously towards two of their most enduring influences, U2 and New Order, while ‘Blowback’ is a kitchen-sink drama about a “white trash always typecast” girl leaving home on the bus, which might land them in the Hague dock alongside me but is impossibly good fun and given an added country twang by Bob Dylan sidekick Blake Mills.
The only song that deviates from the usual Killers template is ‘Fire In Bone’ – a (for them) stripped down affair with treated vocals, and Dave Keuning getting seriously funky with his basslines.
Lucius lend a celestial air to the closing title-track, an exultation to “push your boundaries out beyond your imagining.” I’ll take Brandon’s self-help advice over Tony Robbins’ every day of the week.
The Killers have upheld their side of the bargain by supplying the monster tunes; now it’s up to the Covid gods to let them back into the stadiums.