Leaving the grit and glitter of Las Vegas behind to explore new terrain
Hannah Browne
15:58 17th August 2020

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The Killers aren’t the same band that started nearly 20 years ago. At the early beginnings of Imploding The Mirage, one ingredient missing from their long-time formula for success was founding member/guitarist, Dave Keuning; who (as well as bassist Mark Stoermer) scaled back his involvement in the band shortly after the recording of 2017’s Wonderful Wonderful. Now with their sixth studio album, The Killers have picked themselves up and dusted themselves off, unfractured, with an undercurrent of energy that recalls their early classics.

Imploding The Mirage is the light after the dark – a record about infinite love, perseverance, and the strength gained from weathering a storm. It’s especially exciting to hear an array of collaborators, a first for a band who have formerly kept guest spots to a minimum. Now, The Killers extend beyond the classic sounds in their arsenal and welcome unique twists. Upgrading ‘dustland fairytales’ to narrations of a ‘featherweight queen’, the album’s songwriting takes the best parts of Brandon Flowers’ unguarded character to drive a sentimental and sometimes corny rendering. The result is an expansive and triumphant sound that leaves the grit and glitter of Las Vegas behind as they explore new terrain.  

‘My Own Soul’s Warning’ kicks off with an airy hum before igniting into a rush of buoyant guitars and keys. As a call to resilience, the track builds into an elevating anthem about intuition and returning to faith. Paired with ‘Caution’, the two singles serve as feverish jams on par with early hits when it comes to levels of raw energy. 

‘Fire In Bone’, however, should do what The Killers do best. On the quirky track, Flowers struts his way through feeling “cast out”, “eighty-sixed”, “darkness”, “no good”, “lowdown”, “alone” and “unknown”. “When I came back empty-handed, you met me in the road,” he eventually sings in finding salvation. Yet, its repetitive nature doesn’t entirely claw its way out of lethargy to reach a euphoric peak and therefore just misses the mark.

Casting aside the album’s pre-released singles, The Killers have rarely sounded so experimental. With a 40-second industrial bass intro, ‘Dying Breed’ could be ripped straight from New Order’s music catalogue, while elsewhere, ‘My God’ proves Imploding The Mirage is equally as introspective, with the backing harmonies from Weyes Blood lifting the martial beat-led anthem. Elsewhere Springsteen sensibilities are present but Imploding The Mirage largely offers an image of Americana unseen in their discography before.

With Flowers relocating his family from the parched flats of Vegas to the lush mountains of Utah, he radiates a sense of inner peace. Still, The Killers always have been, and will continue to be, Nevada state heroes. They’re triumphant and expansive but what makes the band remarkable is how their performance is always met with earnestness. They have a history full of characters and storylines that blend seamlessly with a swirl of musical influences, for which Flowers is both the narrator and a wholly singular songwriter. Imploding The Mirage is the sound of a band spreading out, as much informed by the authenticity of their own lives as the formative records that grounded their foundation.

Imploding The Mirage is released on 21 August 2020 via EMI.

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