Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Artist of the Day: Brandon Flowers

The Killers have run the gamut of musical influences, from the electronic heavy pseudo-Brit pop of Hot Fuss and Americana roots rock of Sam's Town. But frontman Brandon Flowers has always preached from his own gospel, one that's neon-soaked and leaving last call in the rain after closing time for Las Vegas's last bar. He's a non-confrontational lover, a self-professed sinner, one of the last of the great jukebox romantics. He's got soul, but he's not a soldier.

His first, and only, solo album is Flamingo, an open love letter to his native Sin City. His best works are almost psalm-like in nature: "Crossfire" is a hymn, complete with a wailing chorus and slow, pulsing synthesizers. "Only the Young" dazzles with ethereal radiance and "Magdalena" is a Latin-tinged love ballad.

But Flowers isn't solely religious on his solo effort. He's still infatuated and enamored with the American West. "Hard Enough" has a subtle country twang and even "Playing With Fire" has its roots stuck in sepia toned nostalgia. Not all of the memories are fond, but Flowers keeps listeners enraptured by his troubadour act. Barring Hot Fuss and half of Sam's Town, Flamingo is some of the Killers' best material, even if it wasn't recorded as a full-band album.

Flamingo is Brandon Flowers' sermon on the mount, if the mount was a sleazy Las Vegas Strip casino. It's a look at the creative force that drives the Killers, and if it's any inclination, Battle Born should be one heck of an album.


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