The Killers have always made one thing obvious with their music: Las Vegas pride. If the band’s glitzy sound and flashy style wasn’t enough, their new album is called Battle Born after the Nevada state motto. Staying true to their town’s way, the band has taken a gamble with their newest record, trading the disco-laced sound of Day And Age for neon-tinted pop and a pinch of Americana. However, unlike in Las Vegas, here everybody wins.
Opening with the beeps and swirls of “Flesh And Bone,” vocalist Brandon Flowers greets the listener with his sultry vocals and boyish charm. Like most Killers songs, it’s arena-worthy, but on a new level—one with echoing harmonies. “The Rising Tide” also plays on this idea, turning up the pace while incorporating harmonized backing vocals, which create a larger, fuller sound.
Battle Born also features a few poppier tracks that have the potential to be radio hits. The album’s first single, “Runaways,” appears to be a nod to the Sam’s Town era, playing up the band’s glam elements. The song hits hard with big guitars, soaring synthesizers, and an explosive chorus. “Miss Atomic Bomb” is a slower tune packed with romance and nostalgia. While Flowers reminisces about his youth (“Making out, we’ve got the radio on”) the band also subtly looks back on the days of Hot Fuss by quickly incorporating the main riff from “Mr. Brightside.”
The album is at its best with “A Matter Of Time” and “From Here On Out.” Both songs provide an adrenaline shot to the record with their fast pace and driving beats. “A Matter Of Time” plays out like an ‘80s pop tune, with more flair and less cheese. “From Here On Out” jumps and jives like a dance-rock tune with an Americana-esque guitar line, making it one of Battle Born’s biggest risk-takers.
When the record finally comes to a close with its title track, it does so in true Las Vegas fashion, playing into the idea of “go big or go home.” Here, Flowers’ vocals are at their best, showcasing his range over symphonic instrumentals. The song’s guitar lines are complex and gargantuan, its synths bright and prominent, its pianos soft and delicate. It’s the perfect closer to a game in which the Killers again come out on top.