Nobody does wide-screen rock better than The Killers.
Grand, cinematic-like music is expected from the Las Vegas quartet, and singer-keyboardist Brandon Flowers, guitarist Dave Keuning, bassist Mark Stoermer and drummer Ronnie Vannucci deliver on their new compact disc, "Battle Born." Although Keuning's guitar isn't as dominant as it was on the band's spectacular "Hot Fuss" and "Sam's Town" albums, "Battle Born" has artistic muscle in the form of adventurous arrangements and Flowers doing some of his best soul-searching in public.
The solid, keyboard-coated "Flesh and Bone" blasts from the starting gate before "Runaways" appears. One of the best tracks in The Killers' expanding canon, "Runaways" reads like a three-minute movie, with Flowers glancing at a bygone era, when he, as a child, first met a blue-eyed girl playing in a sandbox. The song's dynamics culminate with Vannucci's assertive drum-skin attacks and Stoermer's low-end, undervalued thumping.
"Battle Born" also leaves wide-open spaces for reflection and a couple of regrets. On "The Way It Was," the band gives listeners a ghost-like atmosphere reminiscent of The Mavericks' most haunting -- and greatest -- work, with calm verses and swelling choruses. "Deadlines and Commitments," "Heart of a Girl," "Be Still" and the album's title track also pull in winning moments to help boost the quality and viability of the musical proceedings.
From the get-go, The Killers' members have refused to follow their own footsteps with the release of each album, hoping to explore new, interesting lyrical and instrumental territory. With "Battle Born," Vegas' alt.-rock favorites hit the jackpot once again.
For the Record
Title: "Battle Born"
Genre: Rock/alternative rock
Other format: Deluxe CD edition ___
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