The Killers and Coldplay have always been two bands that are constantly brought up in the same sentence. Both groups’ albums consisted of pop rock interspersed with softer ballads. While Coldplay’s latest album, “Mylo Xyloto,” falls heavily on the pop end of the spectrum, The Killers returned with a decidedly Americana rock album coming in the form of “Battle Born.”
Album opener “Flesh and Bone” flirts dangerously close with the pop aesthetic Coldplay has come to worship. Pounding drums, cymbal crashes and synthesizer hooks galore produce a track worthy of the world’s biggest arenas. Lead singer Brandon Flowers bellows into the microphone and asks listeners, “What are you made of?”
“Miss Atomic Bomb” acts as an abridged history of The Killers’ discography, as it includes references to all of their previous studio albums. Highlights include an opening chord progression reminiscent of “Human” from the album “Day and Age,” a dusty love story like the band’s second album “Sam’s Town” and a guitar interlude that sounds remarkably similar to the riff from their biggest hit, “Mr. Brightside.”
Naturally, it wouldn’t be a Killers album without an exhausting number of references to their hometown of Las Vegas, the desert or sentimentalism in general. The album’s name is a direct reference to the Nevada state flag. Even the most enthusiastic Killers fans may find this now-cliché and expected subject matter a bit tiresome. Luckily, diversified instrumentals and genre influences are enough to make up for the lyrical homogeneity.
“Battle Born” shows The Killers have matured in the past eight years. Fans are treated to songs consisting of developed themes that exceed the superficial. Gone are the days of boys looking like girls and high school heartbreak. Instead, the band now chronicles struggling relationships and the challenges of everyday life.
Overall rating: 3 stars
The Killers released their fourth studio album ‘Battle Born.’