Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Record of the Month

I figured I'd do a monthly 'what I'm listening to' kind of thing. This could be viewed as a lame placeholder kind of post. And probably it is. But it's my blog! So there!  

The Killers have a second release in just over a year.  My first thought, was "thank g-d", since their last,  Imploding the Mirage, was so fricking disappointing. 

Their follow up, Pressure Machine is better and worse than that last release. 

First off, while I think it's a huge step to have founder and guitarist, David Keuning, is back in the band, this album seems more and more like Brandon Flowers' third solo project. 

Secondly, one can't just throw on some lonesome harmonica and made-to-sound poorly recorded / mixed spoken-word vignettes about small time life and try to make this your Nebraska (Bruce Springsteen). It's not that. Though I fear the band and producers think it is. They'd be wrong. 

Thirdly, this is produced by the same two guys who mostly helmed the less-than mediocre Mirage. I wasn't hopeful. 

The opener, "West Hills" is just as muddied of a mix as the spoken word parts. It's possible it could be a decent song, but it's dragged down by that mix. 

Flowers & Co try far far far too hard to paint bleak life in small town Utah. Flowers has been doing this on and off again with all his solo disks and some of the band material too. Train wrecks, opioid abuse, affairs, patrol cars and the just kind of mumbles (not even screams) desperation of 'hey notice me....this is bleak, so you know it's good!' 

There are some decent tracks on this disk, which any more than one would have beat Mirage, hands down. I like "Cody". The topic is ok, but Kuening's guitar work is nice - and it's nice to hear Sara Watkins play violin anywhere (though still a grab for Nebraska like sentiments).  "Sleepwalker" is good, as is "In the Car Outside".  

For some unknown reason, Phoebe Bridgers appears on the semi-decent "Runaway Horses". She seems to be the 'Michael "send me the script, I'll DO it!" Caine' of recorded music these days. She's everywhere and I cannot figure out why. She must know where bodies are buried. To be fair, she doesn't detract from the song, but she adds nothing either. 

There is little in Pressure Machine that is traditional Killers - and that's ok. I'm all for expansion and growth. But let's not make this something it's not either.  These are stories of small town Mormon life, which Flowers has been writing about now for decades, but it doesn't make him Springsteen.  It never will. 

1 comment:

GregM said...

Speaking of Springsteen, I'm surprised "Dustland", the song he sings with The Killers isn't on this album.