The Killers
Imploding the Mirage


4.0
excellent

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
August 21st, 2020 | 153 replies


Release Date: 08/21/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A sweeping and somewhat unexpected triumph for the pop-rock titans of yesteryear.

It’s no secret that The Killers fell off a veritable cliff following 2006’s Sam’s Town. In fact, for the last twelve years, one would be hard-pressed to recall anything particularly noteworthy that the band accomplished; three albums of sporadically catchy (but ultimately disposable) singles padded by overinflated ballads is hardly what fans had in mind back when Hot Fuss launched the band to stardom. At best, they’ve fallen into a prolonged identity crisis – at worst, they’ve ridden their own coattails for well over a decade. Thankfully, Imploding the Mirage sees The Killers finally snap out of their crippling musician’s block. By honing in on the record’s atmosphere, the band has pulled off a remarkable comeback and crafted their best album since Sam’s Town.

Imploding the Mirage was inspired by its artwork, a painting titled Dance of the Wind and Storm by Thomas Blackshear. Brandon Flowers stated that whenever he would try to decide if a song belonged on the new album or not, he would listen to it against the visual backdrop of Blackshear’s piece. If it didn’t feel right, it didn’t make the cut. This might seem like an arbitrary method for determining a record’s tracklist, but in The Killers’ case, it really helped to eliminate the inconsistencies that have plagued their recent works. The resultant sound is what Flowers describes as “celestial rock & roll.” The vivacious frontman has been known for making some fairly unwieldy claims in his time, but this is one that we can all get behind because Imploding the Mirage sounds the part.

The Killers’ sixth studio album contains fractional glimpses of the band’s past, but for the most part it sounds unlike anything else that they’ve ever concocted. Imploding the Mirage spirals and swirls, glistens and gleams, and genuinely seems otherworldly. Brandon Flowers’ choruses soar above the clouds, the guitars buzz with the effervescence of the sun, the pianos ring out with the elegance of an abandoned cathedral dance hall, and the drums gallop like wild horses kicking up dust on the American Midwest plains. It’s all very pristine and aesthetically pleasing; it’s as grandiose as Brandon Flowers could ever aspire, but not too sweet for the listener to stomach. That’s a tough target to hit, but this record does so by blending cosmic synths/production with the sort of boots-on-the-ground Americana that made ‘When You Were Young’ anthemic only a short era ago.

Imploding the Mirage’s greatest strength is the way in which it consistently delivers upon this atmosphere. In the past, The Killers always seemed to be searching for a hit single; here the criteria for inclusion forced them to focus on building the concept instead. The record obviously has singles, but there’s no drop-off in quality between those and the rest of the album. Someone who isn’t privy to The Killers’ output would not be able to delineate between ‘Caution’ (the album’s lead single) and k.d. lang’s powerful guest vocal feature on ‘Lightning Fields’. That’s just the way Imploding the Mirage unravels; smooth and uniformly beautiful. The only other guest feature on the record comes via Weyes Blood on the mercurial ‘My God’, another non-single highlight which helps to prove the notion that Imploding the Mirage is a complete album experience.

Elsewhere, The Killers still suffer from their built-in shortcomings. The lyrical content ranges from clunky (“I felt fire in bone, I felt no good, I felt lowdown, and I felt alone”) to borderline nonsensical (“While you were out there, chewing on fat for probable cause”), but Flowers still manages to be serviceable with his penning more often than not. The melodies, for as euphoric and iridescent as their surrounding atmospheres manage to be, aren’t the always the most gripping. Stripped of the record’s pomp and frills, little of this is as catchy or memorable as those mid-2000s Killers, although that’s admittedly a tall order. Imploding the Mirage boils down to a shallow dip in the pool, but that pool is glistening and feels oh so good to indulge in.

It’s a bit of an odd feeling to be sincerely excited about The Killers in 2020. Their prestigious status within the arena of pop/rock was cemented a long time ago, but in today’s rapidly evolving musical climate, they’ve become mere afterthoughts. If there was one more argument to be made in their favor before they are quietly ushered into “classic rock for old people” status, it’s Imploding the Mirage. It may not be a perfect album, but this thing breathes life and ramps up the energy/optimism in all the right places. The Killers’ sixth studio album embodies the band’s liberated spirit and boundless appetite for the grandiose, all while beginning to make up for over a decade of below average material. Imploding the Mirage will finally have you smiling about The Killers again – and yes, this time, like you mean it.



s
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user ratings (179)
3.3
great
other reviews of this album
gryndstone (4)
Give me a song that I may sing That cuts like a canyon and rides on a wing...



Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Moderator
August 21st 2020


36136 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is like the greatest hits of marshmallow rock and I'm so here for it.

Digging: Andrew Bird - HARK!

TooLateToGoBack
August 21st 2020


2034 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The Killers releasing an exceptional record in 2020 isn't something I expected, but I'm glad it happened.



Been over a decade since they've released anything close to this in terms of quality.

Cormano
August 21st 2020


2297 Comments


"The vivacious frontman has been known for making some fairly unwieldy claims in his time"
very generous way to phrase it, Flowers is one of the biggest and more inflated douchebags in music

nice review

RadioNew03
August 21st 2020


41 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This took me by surprise, this album is gold..there best work in years!! A roll down the windows blasting it type of album

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
August 21st 2020


20487 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this completes my weird mental continutity between The Strokes and The Killers

notkanyewest
August 21st 2020


44 Comments


I adore "Hot Fuss", really like "Sam's Town" and enjoyed this on first listen but I'm not sure yet whether it's "Weezer's best record since..." good or actually good

Lucman
August 21st 2020


4874 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Interesting. Never been real big on these guys. Hot Fuss was fine, Sam's Town was pretty great, but haven't liked anything since.

Digging: The Cure - Disintegration

polyrhythm
August 21st 2020


2339 Comments


Their last two albums were absolute garbage, but this review has me keen to check this new one out

Digging: Olafur Arnalds - ...And They Have Escaped The Weight Of Darkness

gryndstone
August 21st 2020


1732 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I still think Battle Born was really good but I know I'm an outlier. This is definitely up there for the best Killers album tbh

JayEnder
August 21st 2020


8530 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Huh this is actually pretty good

Digging: Nothing - The Great Dismal

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
August 21st 2020


20487 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I actually liked Wonderful Wonderful (the t/t esp) so I'm sure I'll dig this

JayEnder
August 21st 2020


8530 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

My Own Soul's Warning is sweetness

ShadowRemains
August 22nd 2020


25910 Comments


this is actually good? artwork definitely is

Digging: Undeath - Lesions of a Different Kind

Nbehre11
August 22nd 2020


214 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great review Sowing, I’d agree so far as I listen along. Also, love the way you ended the review with a throwback to Smile Like You Mean It. Great album, great writing. Have a great weekend everyone!

Digging: Deftones - Ohms

Divaman
August 22nd 2020


6730 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Wow, excited to hear this that so many people think this is a good LP. I had just about given up on these guys.

Digging: Alexia Avina - Unearth

SowingSeason
Moderator
August 22nd 2020


36136 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

As someone who detested their last two albums and found Day & Age very so-so, I can say that this is beyond a shadow of a doubt their best since Sam's Town. It's still not as good as Sam's Town (or Hot Fuss), but it's easily 3rd.

Divaman
August 22nd 2020


6730 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'll definitely pick it up. I actually liked Day & Age, but I also had no use for the last two albums. It would be nice to see them make a comeback.

Slex
August 22nd 2020


10412 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Also like Day and Age tbh

Digging: Gulfer - Gulfer

notkanyewest
August 22nd 2020


44 Comments


That Brandon Flowers solo record from 2015 also has some pretty good stuff on it and seems maybe like this record's spiritual cousin, especially since two guys apparently left the band over creative distances before they recorded this?

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
August 22nd 2020


29432 Comments


What is an abandoned cathedral dance hall and why is it elegant in a manner applicable to pianos?
Tentatively excited to see if this slaps

Digging: Tricot - 10



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