Sound — 8
Do you like 80's-inspired desert rock? Do you like loose concept albums? If so, The Killers' new album "Battle Born" may just be for you. Much of the album takes on the pulsing, dream-like tone that can make the listener feel paradoxically warm and lonely. It is mostly an album of singles, yet the sound comes alive most when listened to in full. The concept of the album is driven partially by the subjects love and loss, but arguably more by the wide palette of emotions showcased by taking these themes and turning them into a 12-sided die, examining the effects of the death and creation of relationships. While the genre of the album may be somewhat limited, it is explored in depth, which makes for an excellent listen.
Lyrics — 7
Dealing with themes of love and loss, The Killers are certainly not on new ground. The lyrics are - well, nice. They fit the tone of the sound very well, and while they might be considered repetitive to some, that's sort of what ties the album together. Every love is like the last in a way, yet every love is something new, as well. The vocals are very well executed throughout, with Flowers really exploring his upper range throughout most of the album, which becomes more lyrically diverse as the tracks progress. For some, this album will be lyrically repetitive and uninteresting, but for others, the cohesion will be compelling. Songs that diverge from the sort of sappy tone present on certain tracks are "The Rising Tide", "Heart Of A Girl" and "Battle Born", which are more inspirational, and they are a good break, even though they come toward the end of the album.
Overall Impression — 8
This album is going to be relatively hit or miss with listeners. The group draws from new influences, like Springsteen and 80's synth-pop for most of the tracks. If The Killers are your favorite band, you may end up disappointed, because "Battle Born" is a fairly big step away from their past material. Many Killers listeners however, old and new alike, will find this album fresh and compelling. My favorite tracks from my first two listens are the title track "Battle Born", "The Rising Tide", "Heart Of A Girl", and "The Way It Was". I will repeat, though, the album is much better as a cohesive work of art rather than individual tracks; the waves of emotion that are present throughout may very well leave the listener awash in awe of the sonic textures they have just experienced.