After a hiatus where the band split off and worked on various other projects The Killers are hoping to pick up right where they left off with their fourth studio album, Battle Born. It was certainly something I’d been looking forward to for a long time. In one interview they claimed that the album would be much more guitar based and with that my excitement grew to greater heights, but did the album meet my expectations?
The first single to be released from the record, ‘Runaways’ was slightly underwhelming, at first, but upon repeat listenings and within the context of the album its grown substantially in my estimations. It plays similarly to ‘When You Were Young’ with a bold, doomed love story at the centre of the lyrics. But although similar it still doesn’t fully have the same bite as anything on Sam’s Town and that goes some way to summing up the album as a whole. Overall the record sounds like a mix of their rock-y guitar based songs from Sam’s Town and their synth based pop from Day and Age. And that concoction of sounds provides some varied results. At times the album is superb, some stand-out tracks being, ‘Miss Atomic Bomb’ and ‘The Way it Was’. The closing track ‘Battle Born’ being an incredibly strong closer as well as managing to condense the length of ‘Goodnight, Travel Well’ and with that concentrate the quality making it a far superior song with a very grand sound that leaves you feeling good things. But there are weak moments as well, that don’t quite seem to fully take off, ‘The Rising Tide’ and ‘Heart of a Girl’ being examples of this. And on the whole the album leaves me slightly lost at where to place it against their previous three.
On another note there is the question of Brandon Flowers’ solo album ‘Flamingo’ which came out during the groups hiatus. I really liked the album but my theory is this; before this hiatus all three of The Killers’ albums had been drastically different from the last giving us almost a whole new style to get used to, but with Battle Born it doesn’t sound quite as different and that’s because the gap between Day and Age and Battle Born was bridged by Flamingo, rather than having to jump from one style to another, we can see a step in between and it means that instead of having two completely different albums we have three albums that sound slightly similar to each other and that is where Battle Born doesn’t quite meet expectations because its not as far away from previous stuff as the other albums were. Although, to summarise, the album is a great listen, it is by no means a bad record, it just for one reason or another doesn’t quite live up to its promise.