Ah, The Killers. The band that loves to remind you that they hail from Las Vegas. The band that has managed to release albums that are never quite the same but still somehow sound like them. The band with a lead singer that doesn’t seem to age. The band that has never been truly appreciated by the United States. Of course, you may know them from their more recognizable hits such as “Mr. Brightside” from their smash debut album Hot Fuss and “When You Were Young” from the fan-favorite Sam’s Town. While their earlier work has certainly left its mark in the music industry, I ask that you indulge me for a moment as I nudge you to their latest album, Imploding the Mirage, released August 2020.
Experiencing delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the album’s release was anything but “imminent”, but the final product was well worth the wait. The album is the band’s sixth record, and the first to not feature guitarist Dave Keuning. Bassist Mark Stoermer’s participation was also scaled down. This left lead singer Brandon Flowers and drummer Ronnie Vannuci, Jr. to figure out the creative process, resulting in an album that lives up to its name and blew up my mind.
The album’s cover features Dance of the Wind and Storm by American artist Thomas Blackshear. The artwork and its image of two coming together as one also became a source of inspiration for the band, who often turned to the artwork whenever they felt stuck. The band returns to their synth sound while maintaining their storytelling lyrics, big choruses, and Brandon Flower’s cruelly underrated voice. During my initial listen, I kept thinking how it’s a shame that the album’s tour was halted because it’s quite clear songs like “My Own Soul’s Warning” are meant to be heard live, and I would give anything to be alongside thousands of screaming fans, belting out the lyrics. (Also, those boys just really know how to put on a show.) There is a grandness that escapes from each song, especially in “My God”, that pumps energy inside the listener. The penultimate track, “When the Dreams Run Dry”, is worth a listen just for its incredible outro.
It’s an album that improves with each play as most songs grow on you over time. It’s been months since its release, but just this past week I’ve come to steadily expand my appreciation for “Running Towards A Place”. So for those interested, I heartily recommend blasting the album as you take a road trip through the desert to truly enjoy the magic of The Killers. (And if you get hungry along the way, I recommend some tortilla chips and their newly-released hot sauces. So good.) Happy listening!