The Killers – Wonderful Wonderful Review


It has been five years since The Killers last album Battle born was released, but the huge group’s fourth studio album was sadly nothing more than a piece of self indulgence and walled off nostalgia. It did not pertain the slick and driven Indie Pop of their previous three albums. Their fifth studio album is called Wonderful Wonderful and comes off the back of Brandon Flowers bold second solo album The Desired Effect from 2015. The electro Pop and Disco influenced album bursted with imposing melodies and rhythms. It is exactly this and a keen ear for well fitting and more meaningful lyrics that can create another hit filled and memorable album from the Las Vegas giants. 

The Man’ echoes a larger trend of Rock and Pop groups looking to Disco as Brandon did in 2015 and this song swaggers with Funk riffs and bass lines albeit with strong electronic overtures. The shining and glimmering sound is met with distorted, low bass lines and Brandon’s smooth, yet slightly broken vocals marry with the sound well. This makes it a little more developed as a Disco/Funk track; something that they largely pull off albeit for a few unnecessary transitions. Lyrically, this song has more to say than any Killers song has for a while as they try to smash the concept of being an alpha male and the idea of being manly as a whole. This idea is channelled through the singles artwork with a child dressed in adults clothes; hinting at the immaturity of the concepts they trivialise on this track. A track that takes getting used to and though not perfect or nuanced, it offers a welcome change of tack from The Killers. The album’s title and opening track ‘Wonderful Wonderful’ begins with whirring sirens before a crisp, undulating bass line and collapsing bass drum beat accompany Brandon Flowers quivering vocals. This tense sound opens up with thin, washed out guitars and Flower’s assertive, quaking vocal in the chorus. The song goes on to break out into theatrical bursts with crashing instrumentation and bellowing vocals as the lyrics appeal to “the motherless child”. Every aspect of this song exudes drama and cinematic quality bursting from tense and dark arrangements that form the foundation of the track. Their experience is on show too as they control the arrangement with poise and precision. Though it will never be the most popular Killers track, this is quite possibly them at their most intriguing and talented; unexpectedly. Opening from resonance to a soothing lullaby, like watching a rainstorm in a desert ‘Some Kind of Love’ has a very intimate feel. Far more ethereal than previous singles it is an outpouring of adoration for both its inspiration Brian Eno’s ‘An Ending (Ascent)’ from the 1983 album ‘Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks,’ – the track weaves its way through the same chord progression – and Brandon Flowers wife Tana, who copes with PTSD stemming from childhood trauma. Proving just how personal The Killers latest album is, Flowers played the songs to Tana in order to get her approval before okaying them from the record. A subtle shimmer of distant guitar lines and Brandon Flowers familiar vocal creates such a calming atmosphere things almost reach a meditative state before the emotional ending lyric; ‘I can’t do this alone, we need you at home, there’s so much to see and we know that you’re strong.’

‘Run For Cover’ has less of the ironic swagger of their first single and is a fast paced, punchy track instead. With rapid rhythms, rumbling bass lines and ringing lead guitars the track maintains an impact that powers on to a peaking chorus. The song is reminiscent of their first two albums in terms of the sheer energy and indulgence with probably one too many guitar parts, but it’s a sound that you want to be layed on thick due to the catchiness of it all. It isn’t a perfect track nor their best, but it’s probably the most confident they’ve sounded for over a decade. ‘Rut’ is a bracing piece of power Pop with slamming percussion, clicking rhythms and deep piano chords; a musical environment built for Flowers’s quaking vocal. A nice and well delivered track, but a typical one a far as The Killers are concerned albeit for some joyous vocal peaks at the song’s finish. ‘Tyson V Douglas’ is track that recounts Buster Douglas’ knock out of Mike Tyson. It is a track that focuses the specific narrative via gritty riffs and chiming synths and this track works because of this. ‘Out of my Mind’ is a pure Pop Anthem in which Flowers makes reference to influences of fellow anthem purveyors including McCartney and Springsteen. This song certainly came from Flowers’ retro electronic influences of his solo work and is a welcome addition to the album. This is followed by the darker atmosphere of ‘The Calling’ which features the deep synths and scratchy guitars of Depeche Mode. This is paired by the dusty Desert Rock of Sam’s Town and it makes for a track full of attitude and confidence if the influences are fairly obvious. Wonderful Wonderful is an undoubted improvement on their last album and is a bold, more ambitious affair with better lyrics and more imaginative arrangements. In doing so they’ve delved into familiar territory to fill up the album, but these are more often than not driven and focussed affairs. Apart from that, the album has featured songs that powerful and thought provoking or at the very least show off all their strengths. It’s an inconsistent, but strong return from Las Vegas’ finest. 

The Killers – Wonderful Wonderful = 8/10

Owen Riddle and Hayley Miller

Single Review – The Killers – Wonderful Wonderful 

2017 has seen the return of The Killers as an in form band, their two singles ‘The Man’ and ‘Run For Cover’ both indulgent Funk and Indie Pop, but with charged and reflective lyrics. Beyond anything, they just sound driven and focused for their September 22nd release; much more than they did for their fourth album Battleborn in 2012. Their latest single is the album’s title track ‘Wonderful Wonderful’ which again forms a standalone sound from their other singles. It opens with whirring sirens before a crisp, undulating bass line and collapsing bass drum beat accompany Brandon Flowers quivering vocals. This tense sound opens up with thin, washed out guitars and Flower’s assertive, quaking vocal in the chorus. The song goes on to break out into theatrical bursts with crashing instrumentation and bellowing vocals as the lyrics appeal to “the motherless child”. Every aspect of this song exudes drama and cinematic quality bursting from tense and dark arrangements that form the foundation of the track. Their experience is on show too as they control the arrangement with poise and precision. Though it will never be the most popular Killers track, this is quite possibly them at their most intriguing and talented; unexpectedly.

Owen Riddle

Single Review – The Killers – Run For Cover 

The Killers fifth studio album Wonderful Wonderful is expected on September 22nd. Thirteen years after their debut album, it can be argued that as a band they had lost their kick and Pop drive with Battleborn. Despite this, Brandon Flowers second solo album The Desired Effect offered up a marked change in energy and direction. The first single from their new album ‘The Man’ hinted at a return of their hit making prowess along with a strong message to their music delivered through their ability to deliver a clear narrative to their lyrics. Their new single ‘Run For Cover’ has less of the ironic swagger of their first single and is a fast paced, punchy track instead. With rapid rhythms, rumbling bass lines and ringing lead guitars the track maintains an impact that powers on to a peaking chorus. The song is reminiscent of their first two albums in terms of the sheer energy and indulgence with probably one too many guitar parts, but it’s a sound that you want to be layed on thick due to the catchiness of it all. It isn’t a perfect track nor their best, but it’s probably the most confident they’ve sounded for over a decade. A reinvigorated band. 

Owen Riddle

Single Review – The Killers – The Man

It has been five years since The Killers last album Battle born was released and their huge group’s fourth studio album was sadly nothing more than a piece of self indulgence and walled off nostalgia. Their fifth studio album is called Wonderful Wonderful and comes off the back of Brandon Flowers bold second solo album The Desired Effect from 2015. Their new single ‘The Man’ echoes a larger trend of Rock and Pop groups looking to Disco and this song swaggers with Funk riffs and bass lines albeit with strong electronic overtures. The shining and glimmering sound is met with distorted, low bass lines and Brandon’s smooth, yet slightly broken vocals marry with the sound well. This makes it a little more developed as a Disco/Funk track; something that they largely pull off albeit for a few unnecessary transitions. Lyrically, this song has more to say than any Killers song has for a while as they try to mash the concept of being an alpha male and the idea of being manly as a whole. This idea is channelled through the singles artwork with a child dressed in adults clothes; hinting at the immaturity of the concepts they trivialise on this track. A track that takes getting used to and though not perfect or nuanced, it offers a welcome change tack from The Killers. 

Owen Riddle

Single Review – The Killers – Peace of Mind

The Killers have marked the tenth anniversary of their hit second album Sam’s Town by releasing a demo track that was not placed on the final track listing of the album. ‘Peace of Mind’ is very much evocative of their sound circa 2006 and would have blended in to the album with ease. The piano ballad come rock anthem is tempered by Brandon Flower’s cautiously trembling vocal, though the sound does reach melodic heights through wiry lead guitars atop of a piano chord rhythm. It is by no means one of their classic tracks from this period, yet it captures their creative direction perfectly. A nostalgic gift for any devoted Killers fan. 

Owen Riddle

Musicandotherthingz.com Best Single of 2015

Here is the list of fifteen nominees for Best Single

 

3. Florence + The Machine – Queen of Peace (13%)

With a track that had a bracing energy and theatrical feel flowing through it, ‘Queen of Peace’ demonstrated Florence’s vocals at their best and the teetering anticipation of each verse is met with the euphoric chorus. On top of this is simply a solid beat and steady rhythm to form a great single.

 

2. Brandon Flowers – Can’t Deny My Love (17%)

The Killers frontman provided us with some shameless self indulgence with his second solo album The Desired Effect and it came no less shameless than with ‘Can’t Deny My Love’. The track is Peter Gabriel meets A-ha musically, but Brandon makes it his own with one the best vocal performances of his career. It’s rhythmic hooks, punch and sing-a-long quality make it worthy of its position.

 

  1. Tame Impala – Let It Happen (20%)

The fact that a song at almost eight minutes long has won this category is just testament to Kevin Parker and his band-mates musical ability for they keep you engaged for the whole length of the track. As the first release of July’s Currents, the band made a big statement as to their philosophical shift and it doesn’t remain in the same place for long. The song takes various forms from catchy to trancelike as you travel along its journey and what a journey it is.

Sunday Suggestion – The Killers – Just Another Girl

The Killers really drew out the promotion and the process of releasing their greatest hits album Direct Hits in 2013. It may seem a bit excessive on their part but they’ve been pretty successful for the last decade in various guises of the pop and 21st Century Indie sound with some electronic tinges. They’ve enjoyed worldwide success in the charts and have largely survived the rise of Plastic Pop and are one of the worlds biggest bands as a result. You can’t really knock them down on that. They’ve never really gave in to the focus on the fast food equivalent to music of recent years but they have always been in an odd place where they can make these subtle changes of direction and a wide enough fan base to stay up there. One single for the greatest hits album was called ‘Just Another Girl’. It is almost a culmination of the last decade of their sound into one song. Rather apt it seems. It has the typical strikes of the acoustic guitar, The light and feathery synths and the staccato trickling of the lead guitar. When this is paired with Brandon Flower’s higher toned vocal and the crashing and churning percussion; it is another great pop tune. The Killers can do that with their eyes closed. It’s something you’ll have to savour as the bands extended break goes on.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

Really Good Remixes – Brandon Flowers – Can’t Deny My Love (Goshfather & Jinco Remix)

One of the singles of the year in Flowers’ 80’s power pop and Gabriel-esque hit is transformed here into a song with injections of electro-funk and dub-step elements that are tailored around Brandon’s structurally unchanged vocals into what is a club track for mindless dancing. In this sense the song works well and still retains and enhances the songs qualities of power and rhythm. One for the parties.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

This Week’s Music Video with Tame Impala, Julian Casablancas & the Voidz, Brandon Flowers, Ducktails and FFS

Brandon Flowers – The Desired Effect Review

Perhaps one of the most hyped album of 2015 was released today and for Killers frontman Brandon Flowers, The Desired Effect is Flowers’ second effort without his fellow bandmates and with this album he’s wanted to show that he can set himself apart from the band. He went on a path to create an album full of singles and that’s a big and bold task. Beyond that, he’s seemed to set out a bold statement from the off in everything from the aesthetic and the core pop sound with the help of HAIM, Sky Ferreira and Vampire Weekend producer Ariel Rechtshaid. It’s a risky strategy. To go all in with any single genre is risky enough, but to do so with pop music and retro pop music to boot is even more of a risk. It could open the door to ridicule or much like Daft Punk in 2013, end up a resounding success.

This shift in Brandon’s sound is evident in the lead single ‘Can’t Deny My Love’ which opens with warping synths and tumbling 80’s metallic-style percussion and rumbling bass lines that lead Flowers into an isolated falsetto. You are then fired into the chorus through bursts of worn and shifting electronica and crisp vocals that are cut so cleanly even for Brandon Flowers standards. The powerful backing vocals only add to the dramatics of what is an insatiably effective track as you’d expect from a man who churns out such songs in his sleep, but with this Gabriel-esque style and power in combination with Flowers’ knack for crafting a hook-laden track and you have one of the defining singles of the year so far.  ‘Still want you’ is a much more tamer affair as opposed to the electronically charged Power-Pop of ‘Can’t Deny my Love’, with brighter synth chords and soft edged percussion. The same is true with the song’s structure and Brandon’s delivery and lyrics; all reflective of a rosie devotion to someone. The track in this sense seems a little stale when next to the previous single, but in fairness it still has all of the melodic foundations of any Brandon Flowers track and the instrumentals are always offset well against the his trembling Tenor of a vocal. Aside from that it’s beauty is in it’s simplicity and you’ll probably be humming this tune for a while yet. ‘Lonely Town’ redressed the balance of the sugar coated ‘Still Want You’ whilst offering an alternative to the power pop of ‘Can’t Deny My Love’. The slightly faded production of Ariel Rechtshaid on all three tracks offers up a thin veil of continuity, but with ‘Lonely Town’ Flowers offers up a more rhythmic and pulsating track evocative of an early Eighties dance track in it’s beat with the sweeping synth drones hanging over it. His vocals act as the anchor to these instrumentals and are worked in harmony with the gospel-like backing singers; a combination that’s worked well many times before. Flowers even runs his voice through an old autotune device to hit the melodic peak more sweetly. If anything this song sounds like a marriage of Chvrches and Arcade Fire in it’s warped electronica and outright euphoria, but in reality, it’s another fine piece of pop.

‘I Can Change’ is still very true to it’s nostalgic pop roots, but offers a different tone with it’s faded and sparse opening with only Brandon’s faded vocals ringing out into the empty space of the song. This space is gradually filled by what is pretty much a Bronski Beat sample with adds that hurtling rhythm whilst layering his unchanged vocals over the top. The clean cut pop of his earlier singles is a little more softer at the edges in this case, but certainly harks back to those early dance tracks. The album opens with ‘Dreams Come True’ and matches Flowers easy delivery with a crashing and revolving instrumentation and some polished brass to boot. It’s a song that’s seems like it’s on a constant rise in a tasteful yet joyous track. Two words that don’t usually marry, even if the ending is a littler typical. ‘The Way it’s Always Been’ is a track that closes the album and it slips in some considered and steady perspectives with it’s light and obtuse electronica, soft drum sample and airy bass lines. It’s here that Brandon’s vocals can appreciated in it’s isolation whilst it sits above the instrumentation. ‘Between me and You’ does the same with a hidden build up which hits the light as the song progresses. ‘Diggin’ up the Heart’ is more like a Springsteen track with the more expansive vocals. Odd but strangely enjoyable. One thing is for certain with this album is that Flowers didn’t relent one bit in his goals. It’s pop so pure that it would bleed sugar if you cut it open. That’s what everyone appreciates about this album. It’s sincere and when he isn’t pulling off his sound with style and effortlessness, he’s embarrassing us all as we gloriously sing along with him. On a technical level those particular song’s aren’t as stimulating, but there isn’t one throwaway track on the album. A blueprint for melodic and hook laden pop music from the pop master himself.

Brandon Flowers – The Desired Effect = 8/10

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995