Album Review: The Killers – Imploding the Mirage

credit: the independent

Following a huge delay (thanks again, coronavirus), Las Vegas’ The Killers have finally released their bombastic sixth album Imploding the Mirage.

Coming at us via Island Records on 21st August, the album comes just one year ahead of the band’s 20th anniversary, and with it comes some interesting sonic changes for the band, whilst keeping things mildly similar to their original, stadium-anthem producing roots.

Album opener My Own Soul’s Warning gleams in slowly with rising synths and a softer ghostly vocal from eccentric frontman Brandon Flowers, giving you the brief fleeting idea that you’re about to get an entirely new sound from The Killers; that is until the utterly straight-up anthemic vibe kicks in and lasts throughout the track to the very end. Dance-y rhythms remniscient of the 80s bring in one of my personal highlights of the album Blowback. Flowers‘ ability to tell a beautiful visual story through songwriting is utterly put on display, as he croons “she’s breathing in the blowback, dorn into poor white trash and always typecast“, you can almost envisage the picture he’s painting in front of you.

Once again, the intro to Dying Breed is absolutely saturated in a funk groove for the first thirty-five seconds, proving to be a recurring theme in the collection of tracks already. The return to classic Killers format comes in the method of those long drawn out synths which are so omnipresent in their back catalogue. Lead single Caution (see below) edges into being with ghostly, heavily sampled overlapping vocals before launching into a track that Bruce Springsteen wishes he’s written himself (honestly, it could easily be a track by the boss). Let’s not forget to mention that screaming guitar solo just casually dropped into the end via Lindsey Buckingham (ex-Fleetwood Mac) as well.

Fire in Bone is heavily dosed with nostalgic grooves rarely heard in music of this decade, whilst simultaneously discussing Flower’s darker times whilst sounding so unbelievably happy, which seems to be his speciality. We return to the Springsteen vibe with Running Towards a Place, which is sure to unite audiences in a post-COVID world; with unification screaming from lyrics like “we’re running towards a place where we’ll walk as one“.

Even the exuberant shout of “we’re all gonna’ die!“, in the chorus of When The Dreams Run Dry can’t dampen the spirits of the almost sickening positivity screaming from this album, once again showing The Killers undeniable ability to drag you out of the darkest places. Interestingly, the album actually shares its name with the closing track, and Imploding the Mirage closes this story of love and joy perfectly. It’s showy, it’s camp, it’s everything you’ve come to expect from the Las Vegas rockers.

The Killers have struggled to find their stride in recent years, with barely a chart-topping single coming from the past decade. That being said, the group are still somehow managing to remain on top of their game; still commanding a legion of die-hard fans despite slowly declining record sales. So what’s their secret? Maybe it’s their utter commitment to remain unapologetically themselves, despite claims of cheesiness and camp bravado. Imploding the Mirage may not be the album The Killers will be remembered for, but it is purely quintessentially them, just bolder and brasher.

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