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MusicUnderFire | February 6, 2016

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The Killers Return With Satisfying “Battle Born”

The Killers Return With Satisfying “Battle Born”

After four-year hiatus, The Killers new Battle Born was released last month and it’s currently charting at #13 on Billboard’s Top Rock albums.  Though we haven’t heard much of it on the radio yet, if you’re a long-time fan you probably love the new release.

For the rest of us, what’s the new album like?

It opens with “Flesh and Bone,” and while probably not  “Battle Born’s” strongest track it finds redemption with some interesting synthesizer,  a booming chorus and great drums.

A memorable performance on Letterman

Track two is where things get interesting. If you were lucky enough to catch The Killers performing “Runaways” recently on David Letterman, you’ll recall a powerful performance of this memorable new rock anthem. While it’s got a definite Springsteen-ish vibe, there’s no mistaking the stamp of frontman Brandon Flowers’ smooth vocals, or the superior, skillful drumming of Ronnie Vannucci Jr., who’s been featured on the cover of Drummer magazine.

Video: The Killers – Runaways

The band blasts through the invigorating “From Here On Out.” The shortest track on “Battle Born,” it’s got a soaring, searing electric guitar lead that makes us wish it were a little longer. “The Way It Was” is a great rock n’ roll torch ballad – and, while not a favorite of this reviewer – “Miss Atomic Bomb” is currently the album’s best-seller on iTunes. It’s a sweeping, nostalgic coming-of-age rock number filled with regret that showcases Flowers’ lead vocals exceptionally well.

The Killers are originally from Las Vegas where they played small venues in 2002-2003. Although a local talent scout got them an audition with Warner Bros. Records, they were ultimately signed by indie label Lizard King Records from the UK (they’re now on Island Records).  They’ve had several hit singles including “Mr. Brightside” from their debut album “Hot Fuss,” “When You Were Young” from “Sam’s Town,” and “Human” from “Day & Age.” “Hot Fuss” also received a Grammy nomination for Best Rock album.

Battle Born, named after their recording studio in Nevada, is their fourth studio album.

Despite its clumsy title, “Deadlines and Commitments” is one of the new release’s most stellar tracks. O.K., full disclosure: quite a bit of “Battle Born” imparts the lush, pop-infused sound of an 80′s rock band, but hey, they do it so well we’re only too happy to hit replay. It’s just that they sound so darn sincere singing lines like “If you should fall upon hard times  / Or if you should lose your way / There is a place, here in this house / That you can stay.”

Video: The Killers – Deadlines & Commitments

While few songs come close to being as stellar or compelling as their haunting “Read My Mind” rocker from the 2006 “Sam’s Town” release, there’s much to appreciate in “Battle Born.” Sometimes less is more and when things slow down a bit, as they do on “Be Still” or “Heart of a Girl,” we get an even better appreciation for their individual and collective strengths as band members.

Current band lineup:  Brandon Flowers, lead vocals, keyboards, piano, bass guitar; Dave Keuning, lead guitar, backing vocals; Ronnie Vannucci, Jr., drums, percussion, backing vocals; and Mark Stoermer, bass guitar, guitar and backing vocals.

Coming live to a city near you

The Killers would be a fun band to see live. They’re currently touring in England, but are scheduled to perform back in the USA soon. To see if they’ll be performing at a venue near you, visit:

You can check out their music online at