The Killers – Battle Born album review

Four years after the release of their infectious Day & Age, The Killers have reconvened for their Americana-rific creation Battle Born.

Originating in Las Vegas, Nevada, frontman Brandon Flowers and lead guitarist/backing vocalist Dave Keuning formed the band in 2001, amidst the garage rock and post-punk rock revival era. Drummer Ronnie Vannucci, Jr. and bass guitarist Mark Stoermer joined the following year in 2002. The band quickly gained fame with the 2003 UK single release of their first song “Mr. Brightside,” leading to significant buzz as a result of extensive touring. After signing with Island Records in 2004, their first album Hot Fuss was released, marking the band’s first success. Combined with 2006’s Sam’s Town and 2008’s Day & Age, band album sales total over 15 million copies worldwide. In early 2010, the band went on a brief hiatus, during which Brand Flowers, Ronnie Vannuci and Mark Stoermer released solo albums. Their new wave-heartland rock blend of hard-hitting anthems and catchy rock tunes have garnered worldwide fans and awards, securing them as a popular rock band.

Battle Born—The Killers’ 4th album—was released on September 18th 2012 on Island Records. The album boasts 12 tracks however the deluxe edition packs three additional tracks, including a house-techno remix of “Flesh And Bone”. The album will likely draw comparisons to Sam’s Town, with its Americana feel and historical references. Indeed, the very title gets its name from a term printed on Nevada’s state flag while “Miss Atomic Bomb” hints at 1950’s nuclear testing in said home state.

“Runaways”—the album’s first single—drafts a history of a lifetime with a certain eagerness for the future. “The Way It Was” addresses troubled love set to a nostalgic alternative rock vibe while “Deadlines and Commitments” channels an uplifting message with new wave influences. In contrast, tunes like “Heart Of A Girl” and “Be Still” might leave you rather disappointed.

Battle Born is likely to induce mixed emotions. Recurrent themes of young love—“standing in the street with her friends” seems to be the thème du jour—as well as repetitive imagery and word usage—time, horses, hell, God/Lord, neon lights, battle born—give it a somewhat redundant feel. There might also be more ballads present than would be expected of an album titled Battle Born. Pleasant tunes notwithstanding, the battle might be in finding that anticipated amazing moment triggered by its namesake.

New territory to be explored indeed, but with conquered grounds to be revisited at will.

By Natacha Pavlov

Natacha Pavlov is an avid reader, writer, and traveler. Aside from eating ridiculous amounts of chocolate from her native Belgium, she can be found consuming large quantities of tea, falafel and lebneh in the lovely Bay Area.

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