The Killers – Battle Born

The Killers - Battle Born

Album cover for Battle Born by The Killers

It speaks to the impact of Bruce Springsteen when a band can be on their fourth album while consistently receiving comparisons to the Boss, yet where his music has a basis in political issues and the American heartland, the Killers have a more general lyrical basis in the theatrical romances and dramatics. It’s all in the delivery of those songs that are always bigger than life and hold on to the rock and roll sound that Bruce became known for. On Battle Born, the Killers go for the simplistic compared to their last record, with huge anthems that sound more sincere no matter what it is Brandon Flowers has to say.

The album is made up of a solid list of anthemic songs. In fact, the huge sound doesn’t really slow down until toward the end of the record with Heart Of A Girl. From there, they keep it out of the stadium for the next two songs, tapping into the Traveling Wilburys on From Here On Out while Be Still uses electronic drums to support the slower melody before returning for the grand finale on the closing track Battle Born.

Go-big or go-home doesn’t only apply to the songs on the record either. The Killers took this approach with the people they worked with on making them as well. Steve Lillywhite (Peter Gabriel, Dave Matthews Band), Damian Taylor (Arcade Fire, Robyn), Daniel Lanois (U2, Emmylou Harris), Brendan O’Brien (Pearl Jam, Incubus) and Stuart Price (Madonna, Scissor Sisters) all contributed to the production of the songs on this record. The Brendan O’Brien-produced tracks all have an 80s-rock power ballad sound to them starting with the Springsteen-heavy Runaways followed by the Heart-like The Way It Was with Here With Me ending that set. Having a selection of producers does the band the favour of not sounding stale as the album progresses, even if there is a point of blending between songs by the halfway point.

There is a certain yearning for past experiences on this album. Miss Atomic Bomb is reminiscing about a past romance that interestingly features the guitar hook from Mr. Brightside, suggesting that maybe it’s the same girl and maybe the feelings that inspired that song came after the story told in this one. Not since then has Brandon sounded so vulnerable as he channels 2000-era Bono as he sings “for a second there we won/we were innocent and young.”

Battle Born is a return to form that many thought the Killers had departed from. While not acquiring as much of a new wave sound that Hot Fuss used, they take a more honest approach with how these songs come out that, if deemed believable, should become the new example for what the band sounds like. Three stars

Tracklisting
1. Flesh And Bone
2. Runaways
3. The Way It Was
4. Here With Me
5. Matter Of Time
6. Deadlines And Commitments
7. Miss Atomic Bomb
8. The Rising Tide
9. Heart Of A Girl
10. From Here On Out
11. Be Still
12. Battle Born

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