The Killers: Stress Machine assessment – their greatest album in years
This nation has two extra nationwide anthems than most: God Save the Queen, Three Lions and the Killers’ Mr Brightside, a music so anthemic it punches the air in its sleep. But the US band have by no means written an amazing ballad. This album nonetheless doesn’t ship one, nevertheless it’s gentler and extra introspective than common. Singer Brandon Flowers – nonetheless stentorian, nonetheless pleading, a Meat Loaf Springsteen – explores Our City, America via 11 dramatic monologues primarily based on his Utah childhood. There’s a married cop who kills his girlfriend’s abusive husband, a craving meeting lineman, an opioid addict, varied down-homes nursing their “barbed wire desires”.
Beforehand, the grasping brilliance of the Killers’ music diverted consideration away from gauche lyrics reminiscent of “are we human or are we dancer”. It appears Flowers typically wavers between poetic and demotic, then misses each. Is chopping grass or cooking eggs in bacon grease “working class”? And “it’s our native hero sports activities bar” doesn’t really feel like one thing a human – or dancer – would say. Nonetheless, there are piquant observations set to lush soundtracks, and Flowers’s profound empathy is palpable. In all probability their greatest album since 2004’s Sizzling Fuss.