Brandon Flowers - Flamingo

Brandon Flowers - Flamingo

Flowers finally sounds comfortable - a welcome change to earlier unease at performing with band mates, let alone by himself.

Rating:

Any Killers fans purchasing this new release from Brandon Flowers expecting to experience something new or experimental should, in that respect, prepare to be thoroughly disappointed, for where many band members who turn solo choose to throw caution to the wind and experiment with new sounds, Mr Flowers has not.

Speculation was rife when a mysterious countdown appeared on the Killers website as to what exactly would happen when it reached zero, for the band had previously announced that on the back of seven years’ constant touring and recording they were taking a much overdue hiatus. So what was the countdown preluding? It just so happened that when they decided it was time for a break, Flowers was already half way through writing songs for their next album. Rather than having to delay progress on the new material or let it go to waste, the energetic front man proceeded to record it himself, as a solo venture.

This may go some distance to explaining why those wanting to hear something other than ‘another Killers album’ will find this a bit frustrating. Flowers also enlisted the help of Stuart Price, responsible for the production of their last album ‘Day And Age’ back in 2008, to co-produce, and he didn’t stop there either; there are flow backs to the Killers all over this album. Ronnie Vannucci, the band’s drummer, has contributed to multiple tracks, and links to their native Las Vegas remain rife.

Despite the many similarities, it can’t be argued that Flowers hasn’t turned up the 80s rock references. ‘Crossfire’ is riddled with bold instrumentation; Daniel Lanois, another co-producer, has worked wonders in giving the album a silky smooth continuation throughout. Famed for his work with U2, he’s really polished the album and it’s hard not to draw comparison to some of Bono & Co’s late-80s material - the synth work in particular draws parallels with the snoozy moments their bigger, glossier ballads are known for.

‘Magdalena’ and ‘Was It Something I Said’ also rate high on the 80s scale, so high that perhaps they should be performed by permed hair, shoulder pad-donning Flowers. They’re so slick and polished they feel to be trying to slide in alongside the likes of ‘Mr Brightside’ and ‘Read My Mind’, though they don’t match the standard of either.

For all his imagery and metaphors linking to the bible and to gambling in Vegas, you get the feeling of ‘I’ve heard it all before’ by the end of the first listen. The general consensus is that Mr Flowers has missed his fellow Killers members’ powers to rein him in when his imagination starts to take control. Metaphors for the sake of metaphors, adjectives for the sake of adjectives, sax for the sake of sax; it just all gets a bit too much resulting in, unfortunately, a not so much exciting as it is bland album.

There are a few highlights however: ‘On The Floor’ is almost sleep inducing, a sure fire cure if you’re suffering a bout of insomnia - a rarity on any Killers album, whilst ‘Jilted Lovers And Broken Hearts’ is where Flowers most goes to town on his metaphors, but the song has a fantastic chorus, is made for radio airtime and has a real sense or urban romanticism. Flowers finally sounds comfortable - a welcome change to earlier unease at performing with band mates, let alone by himself.

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