in Review

The Killers – Imploding The Mirage

It’s hard to say why exactly I was compelled to check out the latest Killers album, other than the fact that it was the first time I’d heard music critics have anything enthusiastic to say about a Killers album in god knows when. I don’t think I’ve listened to a single Killers album since 2006’s Sam’s Town, though I feel like John’s up-and-down relationship with the band being documented on this blog has kept me in the loop enough. Still, they are a band (much like The Strokes) that have only had their legacy solidify in recent years, as “Mr. Brightside” feels like about as ubiquitous of a millennial anthem as you could find. So maybe — to use the verbal bombast of a Killers song — it was time for a reckoning.

While Imploding The Mirage doesn’t quite see The Killers embracing their new wave glory days, it does see them embracing their more maximalist tendencies in a way that’s both as thrilling and as slightly ridiculous as you’d expect from an album called Imploding The Mirage. The name of the game here is epic-ness for the sake of epic-ness, and considering this kind of sheer gusto is hard to find in any rock band these days, it’s pretty welcome. Even though it seems that The Killers have become more and more of a Brandon Flowers project in recent years than an actual band, the album still has the tightness that only a well-honed rock band can pull together, even if it the veneer of it being a rock band is, well, a mirage.

Maybe it is a little easy to get exhausted by this album towards the end of it, since the first few songs really go for broke, with “Caution” perhaps being the high point, as it literally throws caution to the wind. Though even with Imploding The Mirage‘s desire to beat back the notion that longtime rock band can’t still go for broke, it does see The Killers embracing their elder statesman status a bit in its guest appearances. You see both younger musicians that have embraced The Killers’ brand of expansive yearning in Adam Granduciel of The War on Drugs and Weyes Blood showing up, but also with the company of older veterans like Lindsey Buckingham and k.d. lang making appearances as well. Sadly, it’s another album that would sound great live, but at least The Killers were able to bring the majesty of arena-rock to the recording studio in a pretty satisfying way.

Favorite Tracks: “My Own Soul’s Warning”, “Dying Breed”, “Caution”