The Killer’s are a rare band in 21st Century rock due to their ability to stand the test of time and continue to refresh and develop their sound.
Since their breakthrough album Hot Fuss in 2004, they have been sure to create an independent character for each album, avoiding repetition of what has come before. Following the Springsteen-esque power rock of their last album, Battle Born, released in 2012, with Wonderful Wonderful, The Killers have stripped it back again to a more intimate sound and personal record.
In the opening track ‘Wonderful Wonderful’, Brandon sings “I am with thee”, seeking to guide a “motherless child”, taking a Christ-like character. In the next track and the lead single from the album, ‘The Man’, this idea is taken to the extreme as Flower’s takes the persona of an invincible man, claiming ‘nothing can break me down’. Referring to his ‘household name’ and success (‘I got money in the bank’), Flower’s ironically reaches the limit of arrogance. As common with The Killers, on ‘The Man’, Mark Stoermer provides an irresistibly funky bass line, which turns ‘The Man’ into one of the strongest tracks on the album.
After the unashamedly arrogant start, most of the rest of the album deals with tearing these notions apart. In ‘The Rut’ Flowers begs “don’t give up on me… I’m climbing but the walls just keep stacking up”, whilst in ‘Life To Come’ he asks ‘have a little faith in me girl, drop kick the shame’. The driving rock song ‘Tyson vs Douglas’ could have sat just as comfortably on Battle Born or Sam’s Town, dealing with Flower’s learning to deal with invincibility. One of the most touching tracks on the album is ‘Some Kind Of Love’, a track written by Flower’s to his wife who was dealing with PTSD. Compared to the blaring ‘Tyson vs Douglas’ that comes before it, ‘Some Kind of Love’ is a distant, airy, synth-lead track, where Flower’s once again notes his weakness (‘can’t do this alone’).
Over the past 13 years, the Killers have had an impressive knack of producing arena-sized sing-alongs which will inevitably go down well on tour. Tracks such as ‘The Calling’ with its irresistible swaggering guitar and ‘Run For Cover’ urgent chorus, will be sure to be crowd favourites. Although strong tracks, these are not what defines the album. With age, The Killers have become more aware of their weaknesses and flaws. On the album closer, ‘Have All The Songs Been Written?’, Flowers sings “have all the years been worth it or am I a great regret”. There is no doubt the years have been worth it and with another strong album, let’s hope there are still a lot more songs to be written.