Review: The Killers – Battle Born
Published on September 25th, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
Though The Killers’ latest could quite easily be reviewed in four words and one punctuation mark – “overblown, but not gloriously”, since you ask – Rocksucker really is going to have to take it to task in more detail for having the temerity to commit such heinous crimes in music’s good and noble name.
(Think of us as a music fan striking back against someone who’d just criticised music on Twitter.)
Opener “Flesh and Bone” sets the tone perfectly by aspiring for Queen yet landing much closer to recent-vintage Kings of Leon, albeit insipidly campy where KoL have been insipidly grunty and sweaty. There are some nice string plinks, and a decent idea in the form of overlapping vocals, but the big, chanty ’80s synth-pop schtick is almost as grating as Brandon Flowers’s voice itself.
Single “Runaways” is like The Darkness but without the self-awareness to even remotely redeem it, “The Way It Was” a perfect encapsulation of the tiresome, relentless tonality which Battle Born refuses to take anywhere that might threaten to be interesting, while…actually, nearly every damn song here is the same.
To be fair, there are notable moments amidst the mundanity – for example, the high likelihood of the LeAnn-Rhimes-meets-latter-day-Aerosmith-esque “Here With Me” soundtracking a million and one irksome love scenes on Hollyoaks and the like, the inevitable “Be My Baby” beat somewhere in “A Matter of Time”, and the mercy shown by “From Here On Out” in being the only track to clock in at anything under 3 minutes 50 (a commendable 2:27, in fact) – but these are just flies surrounding the monumental turd that is the cold, bloated, widescreen schmaltz of “Be Still”, which manages to offend still further by dint of sharing a title with such a warm, tender (and CONCISE) Beach Boys song.
Okay, seriously now, here is a list of good things about Battle Born:
- The drumming
- The rare moment of understatedness/humility that is the otherwise uneventful “Heart of a Girl”
- The rare moment of anything even approaching invention and nous that is “The Rising Tide”, albeit it is the second track to mention “neon light”
- The poor man’s ELO of the closing title track, albeit this commendation must be considered with a heavy dose of relativity
There you go, start with the band and end with the good. We’re “flipping” it, see.
Rocksucker says: One Quail out of Five!
Battle Born is out now on some sickeningly supportive superlabel or other. For more information, please ask a responsible adult to explain to you why The Killers are allowed to make more of this guff at such phenomenal cost