A 'Killer' debut from a singer in full bloom.
'The Killers' front man Brandon Flowers uses his hometown of Las Vegas as the perfect backdrop and metaphorical inspiration for his debut solo set. Now although solo albums from lead singers of bands often times seems unnecessary, (especially as the singers will need a backing band anyway) with a personality and a name like Brandon Flowers it was only a matter of time before this front man bloomed into a star on his own. Now after four brilliant albums with his band, Mr. Flowers time to grow is now and his devlopment leads off with the incredibly catchy, first single 'Crossfire'. An undeniable song that hits everything in it's path like the incredible Charlize Theron in the songs video.
The album is 'Killer' both in it's sound and in it's quality. There may be other elements of classic rock thrown in and inspirations from other artists taken but above all this is Brandon Flowers' album. The LP starts with the atmospheric cut 'Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas' which is Springsteen-esque in it's all or nothing spirit that is mixed into a cautionary cocktail that goes down smoothly. Flowers on the chorus tells it like it is, "Give us your dreamers, your harlots and your sin, Las Vegas, Didn't nobody tell you the house will always win?" It's a perfect 'welcoming' to the album and a sign of things to come on a disc that highlights the love but also the loneliness of a city that makes or breaks.
The album feels as vintage and as stylish as it's cover which feature Flowers in an old-deco hotel room overlooking the neon lights of Nevada's most famous town. There's something about these neon lights that are both welcoming and isolating, a subtle sign that even entertainers get lonely. It all seems to stand up just the way Flowers does in deserted solitude on the cover of his first album where he goes it alone. The feeling of introspection in this 'Cold Desert' is as crisp and haunting as the Kings of Leon song of the same name. Take a look at the way Flowers is sat on the cover for the deluxe version of 'Flamingo' (Which features standout tracks like 'Jacksonville' and 'I Came Here To Get Over You') to see this form of expression reflected further.
One of the best atmospheric and introspective tracks on the album is the gem 'Playing With Fire' which may just be a classic for Flowers' discography. The six minute number features evocative lyrics over haunting guitars including lines that stay with you like 'Those charcoal veins that hold this chosen land together/May twist & turn but somewhere deep there is a heart' and 'Ten thousand/Demons hammer down with every footstep/Ten thousand Angels rush the wind against my back/The church of mine may not be recognised by steeple/That doesn't mean that I will walk without a God.'
The album is named 'Flamingo' after a road in Vegas, which laid venue to Flowers first job (at a golf course), a casino that inspired the name of 'The Killers' second album ('Sam's Town') and a clothing store where Brandon met his wife. Again just like Bruce Springsteen Flowers uses his inspirations from the area around him to tell us everything about his experiences,which thus make the perfect songs. Songs like next single 'Only The Young' the introspective number 'Jilted Lovers & Broken Hearts' and the epic sounding 'On The Floor' , complete with it's sequel for those deluxe listeners. Brandon's narrative brings the songs a detailed background and content while his abilities to write and craft the perfect pop chorus bring the songs to life. Which. in turn will enable them to breathe in the charts while still holding significant enough depth.
Of course while 'The Killers' are on 'hiatus' this album serves as a decent filler but alas there is nothing like an album with his fellow band mates. On his own on this one Flowers had described the recording process as being 'lonely' and although it'll be a welcome reunion when the band rejoin him in their studio, this lonesome feeling has resulted in some of Brandon Flowers most honest work to date. Brandon may have taken a gamble on this one, but without a full deck he still plays his cards right. TIM DAVID HARVEY