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Album Review: The Killers – Imploding The Mirage

The Killers are a band who will always sell-out tours and attract a large crowd to their festival sets. However, this isn’t without peril, The Killers are at risk of becoming a band who are reliant on their early successes. The band hasn’t had a big hit since 2008 and are at risk of becoming branded as a nostalgia act.

One of the strong points of Imploding The Mirage is that the band aren’t trying to mimic their previous releases outright, the record is littered with twinkling, expansive cinematic sounds littered throughout. The album was predominantly inspired by frontman Brandon Flowers’ relocation from Las Vegas to Utah, influencing much of the sounds and lyrics on Mirage. ‘My Own Soul’s Warning’ is a musically expansive track, with synths, organs and keys interwoven alongside guitar and bass. ‘Dying Breed’ is a twinkling, romantic song, sampling Can’s ‘Moonshake’ and NEU’s ‘Hallogallo’. “I’ll be there when water’s rising, I’ll be your lifeguard/ We’re cut from a stained-glass mountain/ Baby, we’re a dying breed,” , Flowers sings on the tender track dedicated to his wife.

Happy and upbeat songs with huge poppy choruses, which The Killer’s appear to have made their trademark since their emergence on the music scene, fill the album with some working better than others. ‘Blowback’ and ‘Fire In Bone’ are two almost interchangeable songs which are built around dance hooks. Album closer and title track ‘Imploding The Mirage’ is a strong indie-pop track. Lead single ‘Caution’ is the most “stadium-rock ready” track on the album. The song is packed with sparkling pop-rock with catchy melodies, featuring a guitar solo from Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham himself.

One of the strongest tracks on the album is ‘When The Dreams Run Dry’, with booming synths and guitars and an echoing outro. A poignant track with great themes, it’s carefree and poppy, filled with lyrics about making the most of the here and now instead of having regrets, “You start to wonder about the time theft/ How much of it you got left. We’re all going to die/ When they’re closing up the door/ Nobody wishing that they weren’t more.”‘My God’ and ‘Lightning Fields’ see guest appearances from singer-songwriters Weyes Blood and K.D Lang. While the latter track is fairly indistinguishable on the album, Weyes Blood’s vocal addition to ‘My God’ elevates the song and makes it a standout on the album. 

Mirage isn’t The Killers’ highest watermark with the tracks unlikely to become radio airplay staples for years to come, however the album is more sonically expansive and experimental than the band’s more recent releases. Backed by the universal success and longevity of their earlier, hit-filled albums Hot Fuss, Sam’s Town and Day & Age. The Killers are a group comfortable with their place in the music industry. But you can’t help but wonder how a band in such a safe position, who’s setlists are dominated by their early hits and universally known for ‘Mr Brightside’ and ‘Somebody Told Me’, aren’t emboldened to try something more experimental with their work. 

Imploding The Mirage isn’t a game changer, instead, this is an album for the dedicated Killers fans, for some, there’s nothing more satisfying than songs built around the same tried and true method.