With new releases from big name bands and smaller indie acts one album has flown under most people’s radars.
“Imploding the Mirage,” the sixth studio album from new wave turned alternative rock band The Killers rekindles a bit of the magic that made their debut album “Hot Fuss” such a big hit. Interesting and compelling instrumentation over dramatic story driven lyrics transports listeners to a road trip out of Las Vegas in this ten track record.
1. “My Own Soul’s Warning”
The long anticipated album starts off with a kick in “My Own’s Soul Warning.” Beginning with a slow, quiet build up with little instrumentation backing the far away voice of lead singer Brandon Flowers the song transitions into fast and dangerous when the drums kick in. Fun and fast paced with a catchy synth hook they shatter the cautious and melancholic first minute morphing the rest of the song into a celebration of living life the way you want to. The stadium sound can not help but make you tap your foot or nod your head to the infectious and nostalgic beat.
The energy settles down in track number two, "Blowback." The Springsteen influences shine through with elements of heartland rock and a story about a girl "born into poor white trash and always type-cast." The bridge in this song is also one of the best in the album, reminiscent of the "Sam's Town" bridge in the single "When You Were Young." The ending is a little jarring with a choral singing effect, but still in many ways a classic Killers song.
3. "Dying Breed"
This track picks up the tempo again with the drums being the focus of this song. Steady and reliable the drums and melody echo Flowers message about being "strong and steady" and "having everything we need." The honesty in Flowers voice elevates this otherwise unremarkable song into a heart wrenching plea and an equally emotional promise.
The lead single off the album “Caution” is by far the most up beat and pop like song on the album. It starts with a quick aside with the classic new wave sound that sounds right at home on their previous album "Wonderful, Wonderful" before the synth sound and drums ramp up to break the illusion. A song about living life “wild and free” and throwing “caution to the wind” it offers those with wanderlust an anthem. Finishing with a chaotic mix of guitar solos (From none other than former Fleetwood Mac star Lindsey Buckingham) and synth melodies it transports the listener to singing out of the sun roof on a long car ride to somewhere new and exciting.
5. “Lightning Fields (feat. k.d. lang)”
A feature by Canadian singer k.d. lang creates an impressively layered sound to the hauntingly beautiful lyrics in “Lightning Fields.” The track incorporates the sound of their native Las Vegas bringing to mind the lively sound of their freshman album in songs like “Believe Me Natalie” and the always classic “Mr. Brightside.” This track in spite of similarities to earlier songs in their discography still sings with a unique flavor that can only be pulled off by this band. Fair warning the chaotic nature of this song can be off putting to some.
6. "Fire in Bone"
The back half of the album starts with the oozing with style funk inspired "Fire in Bone." This track, like much of the rest of the album, is jarring at first with an arena rock sound being boiled down to Flower's talk-singing and a strong bass line. Dreamy and almost psychedelic "Fire in Bone" is the most original song on the album while still being thematically cohesive with its much more intense following tracks.
7. "Running Towards a Place."
This track, while being easily skippable, still has some musical gems that make it worth listening to at least once. Like "Dying Breed" the instrumentation reflects the lyrics with an unrelating pace that just seems like its bursting at the seems to follow Flowers desperation to run anywhere else.
8. “My God (feat. Weyes Blood)”
One of the simpler tracks on the record in terms of composition and vocals “My God” can be a dark horse in terms of the album. Skipping over the song due to it lacking the dramatic hallmarks of long instrumental sections, simple lyrical structure and bombastic vocals found in the rest of the record gives the track a disservice. The slow start gives way to the best minute and a half on the album. The gorgeous piano and violin melodies mixed with featured vocalist Weyes Blood’s high and breezy voice creates a sound unlike anywhere else in the album.
9. "When the Dreams Run Dry"
A sober look at the passage of time and love "When the Dreams Run Dry" is the showcase of the maturity of Flowers' lyrics. Far from simple jealousy that was the trademark of their first album, this track focuses on the vocals rather than the instrumentation. This creates a standard sound that is enjoyable, but not groundbreaking in exchange for a complex theme. Although the loud exclamation of "we're all going to die!" is pretty funny in an otherwise serious track.
10. “Imploding the Mirage”
The title track “Imploding the Mirage'' ends the record. This song is a personal favorite of mine with the peppy sound and danceable beat. Flowers' quick and clipped singing gives some much needed energy to the otherwise relaxed feel of the song. While it lacks intense drum beats or dark 80s synth beats that characterize a majority of the other songs on the album it makes up for it in the love and passion put into each note and lyric. A solid drum and bass line form the backbone of the melody and keep the song on track. A perfect conclusion to this long and winding album as if the listener was watching the end credits of a movie.
Is the record worth your time?
Emotional vocals mixed with a distinct mix of upbeat 80’s and americana flavor along with their signature new wave aesthetic gives this record a unique take on the band’s iconic sound. Fans of The Killers will appreciate the somber lyrics juxtaposed against bright and cheerful melodies along with Ronnie Vannuci Jr.’s reliable and stand out drum playing.
The weakest part of the record comes with the loss of their former guitar player Dave Keuning, his guitar playing is sorely missed on a majority of the songs on the record. Additionally, several of the songs had large portions of instrumental breaks which are definitely not for everyone.
If you were not impressed by The Killers other albums, this won't be the one to convert you. While it is one of the most pop orientated albums from them to date, it still keeps the sound that lets you know it's from The Killers. Slickly produced to the point of overproduction, loud, and dramatic the record has a sound only The Killers can pull off.
Still unsure if you should listen to it? Check out “Caution,” if it catches your attention check out some of the other tracks on the album like the funk infused “Fire In Bone” or the power anthem “Blowback.”
Check out the full album here! https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_kEGStUtBZL5dTF-R1hOOzFwXGSNECsyOk