Only getting better at what they do best
In a city filled with fans of metal and rap, The Killers stuck out like a sore thumb with their whimsical keyboard and dreamy synth-pop beats when they were introduced to the Las Vegas music scene in 2001. Though they supposedly didn’t appeal to the Vegas music lovers of years past, the Killers would eventually become the top performers to originate from Nevada. The band has never been afraid to literally march to the beat of their own drum, and it was likely this quality that allowed fans to skyrocket them to success. The primary trio that comprises The Killers—Brandon Flowers (lead vocals, keyboard, bass), Mark Stoermer (guitar, bass, backing vocals) and Ronnie Vannuci Jr. (drums, backing vocals)— create with purpose and passion in every album they produce, and Imploding The Mirage is no exception. In an interview with NME, Flowers explains the album’s artwork intimately influenced its creation, hinting towards layers of artistic depth and connected motifs hidden in the work. The strength yet buoyancy of the cloud gods sweeping through the hills is quite similar to the freedom felt while listening to each song, making Thomas Blackshear’s painting the perfect partner for Imploding The Mirage.
The album is still jam-packed with the breezy feel-good anthems the band’s known best for, but it’s unmistakable that the Killers are pushing themselves when it comes to experimentation in their music. Imploding The Mirage featured a whopping 16 guest musicians and eight studio personnel to create, mix and engineer the album, explaining how the band managed to deliver such a masterpiece. The resulting sound is still true to the original band’s style but allows for more variety to exist in the vivacious fast-paced world of The Killers.
In “Blowback,” The War on Drugs’ Adam Granduciel has a sedative influence on The Killers, resulting in a song with toned-down synths and a newfound focus on the acoustic guitar and other classical instruments. The Killers nearly sound western, perhaps calling back to their roots in Vegas. Other songs like “Fire In Bone,” also elicit the same feeling with a heavier focus on swells of the acoustic guitar as a tight bassline guides the song through the ebb and flow of a few select synths. Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham only compounds on this sound as he lends his acrobatic guitar skills in “Caution.” Other artists like Weyes Blood provide even more variance for the album, as her softer feminine vocals perfectly harmonize with Flowers’s. As they sing in “My God,” their voices confidently weave through bursts of electrifying synths and wailing guitars as they chant “It’s like a weight has been lifted,” alluding to the motif of freedom present in Imploding The Mirage.
Not only were The Killers unafraid to collaborate in their newest release, but they jumped straight into experimenting with instruments themselves, too. Whether it be the glockenspiel in “My Own Soul’s Warning” to the organ and bagpipes present on “Lightning Fields,” The Killers were armed with a diverse array of instruments in the making of Imploding The Mirage. Even the addition of the harmonica adds a rustic appeal to tracks like “Dying Breed,” and the interplay between the strings and guitar in “My God” adds both depth and charm to the band’s work. Some songs like “When The Dreams Run Dry” are more mellow compared to the standard synth-pop Killers, and as Flowers sings “I’m letting go of the reins,” it almost feels as though he’s talking about his own album and creative process.
Ultimately, The Killers deliver an album as strong as its artwork. Whereas most music feels like floating down a winding river–The Killers is akin to soaring in the air–weaving through storm clouds and blue skies. Despite collaborating with so many different people and using enough instruments to be dubbed “connoisseurs of sound,” The Killers struck a perfect balance between staying true to their roots and evolving. Long time fans should be excited The Killers are still on top of their game, and they seem to continue to make music for the average dreamer. Although they’ve certainly gone through changes since their foundation, Imploding The Mirage solidifies that The Killers can always be relied upon for a supply of good music.