The Killers’ new album “Imploding The Mirage” offers consistency in a world of uncertainty

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Courtesy of Island Records

The Killers’ sixth album “Imploding the Mirage” explores the band’s Las Vegas roots.

The Killers released their sixth studio album, “Imploding The Mirage,” on Aug. 21. It is the first album without lead guitarist Dave Keuning, who has been on hiatus from the band since August 2017.

The album features several big-name guest musicians and vocalists, including Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac (guitar on “Caution”), Adam Granduciel of The War On Drugs (keyboard on “Blowback”), K.D. Lang (vocals on “Lightning Fields”), Weyes Blood (vocals on “Blowback,” “Lightning Fields,” “My God” and  “Imploding The Mirage”) and Lucius (background vocals on “Caution” and “My God”).

The third song, “Dying Breed” sounds like The Killers are reaching for the grandiosity of Bruce Springsteen’s song “Born To Run,” including a similar message of being certain through times of self-doubt. This is especially clear in the lines “If you’re looking for strong and steady, / Well, baby, you found it” and “When everyone’s compromising, / I’ll be your diehard. / I’ll be there when water’s rising. / I’ll be your lifeguard. / We’re cut from a stained glass mountain. / Baby, we’re a dying breed.” 

Lang’s vocals on “Lightning Fields” complement Brandon Flowers’ voice well. In the narrative of the song, Lang is the voice of the speaker’s ex in a dream who assures the distraught speaker who is remorseful about the end of their relationship that “There’s no end to love. / There’s no end to truth. / There’s no end to me. / There’s no end to you.” This is a song that anyone with a “one that got away” can listen to and find comfort in.

“Fire in Bone” discusses feelings of being cut off and feeling bad, intertwined with strong positive emotions. The part that doesn’t make sense is the refrain of “I felt fire in bone.” It’s hard to imagine what this would feel like. The song is mostly a repetition of “I felt” statements without much else. I felt this song sounded like “Little Cream Soda” by The White Stripes and all their “oh well’s.” I felt ready for this song to be over. I felt that this song should not be a single. Oh well, oh well. 

While “Running Towards a Place” does not feature Fleetwood Mac’s Buckingham, after hearing the intro, I was half-expecting for it to be Stevie Nicks instead of Brandon Flowers singing when the vocals kicked in.

The last song is the album’s title track, which pulls together themes from other songs on the album, including “But I threw caution ‘cause something about that yin and the yang / Was pushing my boundaries out beyond my imagining,” which hearkens back to “Caution.” “Imploding The Mirage” mentions the speaker’s wife’s image of him as “a timid Rockwellian boy” and negates this assumption with the assertion that “I wasn’t lost in the collage. / I was imploding the mirage,” which is the exact opposite of the Rockwellian imagery. Instead of being part of the scenery, he was imploding the idealized sense of their surroundings. And if this song is autobiographical for Flowers, then those surroundings are Las Vegas, a place that is idealized mostly by people who don’t actually live there.

The album’s title alone is a bold move. It may lead listeners to believe this Las Vegas band is referring to an impending detonation of the famous Mirage hotel and casino in Las Vegas, which will not be happening anytime soon.

In all, the album fits with the band’s subtle evolution and maturation of themes we’ve witnessed since their debut album, “Hot Fuss.” It holds up to the vivid, sentimental and adventurous storytelling lyrics and Flowers’ from-a-hush-to-a-boom vocal delivery that we’ve come to expect from The Killers. Does that mean it’s boring? Hell no, it’s consistent in a good way.

Rating: 7/10

Kelsey Ogle can be reached at [email protected]