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The Killers - Imploding The Mirage (Album Review)

Tuesday, 08 September 2020 Written by Huw Baines

‘Imploding the Mirage’ is a Killers record for all those Killers fans out there who long ago accepted, and celebrated, the fact that their favourite band is ridiculous. And the Killers are ridiculous—overblown, melodramatic, gauche, heart-stoppingly earnest. Here, they own that fact so completely that their blend of infectious pomp and heartland rock emoting reaches fresh heights.

Bruce Springsteen’s days as a chart force in the mid-1980s are a handy touchstone for the best moments on ‘Imploding the Mirage’, but a more prescient reference for its palette and objectives is found in the more recent work of the War on Drugs, whose leader, Adam Granduciel, is among a cavalcade of guests.

With guitarist Dave Keuning on sabbatical and bassist Mark Stoermer dipping in and out of proceedings, Brandon Flowers and Ronnie Vannucci have assembled a Sgt. Pepper’s sleeve of collaborators. 

Granduciel is joined by producers Shawn Everett and Jonathan Rado, plus Lindsey Buckingham, k.d. lang, Weyes Blood and the Lemon Twigs’ Brian D'Addario. All of them are subsumed by the album’s grandstanding force, slipping into Flowers’ all-or-nothing mode and relishing the chance to swing for the fences.

Buckingham, still on the outer from Fleetwood Mac, crushes a solo on the driving single Caution, while lang is a soulful, gritty foil for Flowers on Lightning Fields, which fuses a drum loop lifted wholesale from ‘Tunnel of Love’ with lilting Blue Nile keys. “I just wanted to run my fastest, and stand beside you,” they holler, and it’s really quite affecting.

It’s easy to mock Flowers—trying hard has never been the coolest thing about rock ‘n’ roll—but here his guileless gusto holds the whole endeavour together. Combining the Killers’ indie-pop romanticism with the most garish elements of ‘80s rock is a recipe for disaster when the commitment levels drop one percent below 100, but that’s not an issue here.

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