Reviews : Music
Brandon Flowers succeeds in solo album
The Killers frontman debuts 'Flamingo,' displays musical ability
September 15, 2010
In his first solo album, Flamingo, The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers shows his musical ability while employing classic Killers style. Although Flowers is able to build up his own sound in many circumstances, his music struggles to compensate for the absence of the band.
Two years since new music was released by American rock band The Killers, a new sound emerged from the band's frontman, Brandon Flowers. He released his first solo album, Flamingo, Sept. 14.
After months of speculation and rumors as to what would come of The Killers, news of the 10-track album came as a breath of fresh air. Since the band decided to take a break from six straight years working together, the frontman took up the music he had written for the group and made the best of it. Although the change appeared fatal to The Killers, they assured fans that it was not the end.
Since the music was intended for his band, the album left tracks of classic Killers style everywhere. This was a huge reassurance to me as a fan. When I learned of Flowers' secession, I was concerned that fame had gone to his head. In addition, I had no idea how he would come up with successful music on his own. My fears were extinguished with Flamingo's loyalty to Flowers' beloved style.
For a large portion of the album, Flowers boldly marches into the world of country music. Although I avoid this genre, and do not particularly enjoy even Flowers' contributions, I must admit that the style fits him perfectly.
The Killers' 2006 album, Sam's Town, revolved around their home city of Las Vegas, and gave a true sense of what the band loves about life. In Flamingo, Flowers put his heart at the center of his music once again. Even though I do not see myself listening to the country-styled songs, I give Flowers credit for capturing the atmosphere he aimed for.
Two songs automatically caught my attention and became my favorites. The light, memorable rhythm of "Only the Young" is a refreshing contribution to Flamingo, and takes a break from the more heavily-toned songs. "Jilted Lovers & Broken Hearts" also stands out as a purely enjoyable, upbeat piece.
Flamingo's first single, "Crossfire," not only features a brilliant beat, but also has interesting lyrics. The words reflect life's struggles, but do not come across as cliche: "We're caught up in the crossfire of heaven and hell, and we're searching for shelter ... And when the hardest part is over we'll be here, and our dreams will break the boundaries of our fears ...."
"With this album, Flowers shows his musical ability and proves himself capable of succeeding on his own. Nonetheless, I cannot wait until The Killers unite once again." --Mary Hierholzer, '12
While Flowers is able to build up his own sound in many circumstances, several of the consequences for the absence of his band are impossible to avoid. Where Killers' guitarist, Dave Keuning, and bassist, Mark Stoermer, once supported their frontman with vocals, female background singers now insert their voices.
It was rather sad to hear the prominent electric guitar lines without Keuning's flair and expertise. I was glad to learn, though, that The Killers' drummer, Ronnie Vannucci Jr., performed on drums for "Crossfire" and "Playing With Fire."
With this album, Flowers shows his musical ability and proves himself capable of succeeding on his own. Nonetheless, I cannot wait until The Killers unite once again. He carried his flair into independent work, but it will never quite compare with the collaboration of Flowers, Keuning, Stoermer and Vannucci.
Flamingo is available on Amazon.com, on iTunes and in most music stores.
For more music reviews, read the May 7 article, Symphony visit puts lessons in context. For more reviews related to The Killers, read the Aug. 24, 2009, article, The Killers produce energetic show.