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Brandon Flowers - The Desired Effect. What's all the hot fuss about?

Indie | Monday 18th May 2015 | Georgina

Brandon Flowers' second solo album makes its debut. But does it live up to its namesake and have the desired effect? After much press speculation, the record from the Killers frontman was released on Monday. Flowers has been appearing left right and centre over the past few weeks, last week appearing for a live set at Absolute Radio and performing on the Graham Norton Show over the weekend.

Hardcore Killers fans will of course love everything that he does, yet their last album left many disappointed, and struggled to rekindle the old genius of Hot Fuss and Sam’s Town. Arguably, older works like Sawdust were much better and most people have never even heard of them. Battle Born seemed to be going for the teenage audience, while the loyal fans that were jumping around to 'Mr. Brightside' over a decade ago and eagerly awaited Battle Born were all grown up. The teenagers of today aren’t looking to discover a been-around-for-ages glamorous-indie-rock-and-roll band, they're anticipating the next Taylor Swift video and mourning Zayn Malik’s exit from One Direction. The Killers need to impress their fan base before looking to recruit new Victims. Flowers himself stated in an interview with NME that he knew “it wasn’t as good as we’re capable of”. A break was needed, and maybe this album is his own way of getting himself out there again separately before we all judge their next collaborative work.

The new album is classic Brandon Flowers, and it's hard to set it apart from his debut solo album Flamingo. The last was rife with religious undertones, culminating in songs like 'Magdalena' and the single 'Crossfire', which is again emphasised in the new 'Between Me and You'. Both albums have a similar southern drawl, mixed with glittering Las Vegas synth tones. His promise to NME that The Desired Effect was “definitely going to be different” was not kept. However it does make for easy and catchy listening.

The first track 'Dreams Come True' is easily the most feel-good song on the album. It hints toward Springsteen and Bon Jovi, mirroring the classic Killers nostalgic rock sound, but mixing country with a “neon” Vegas tone that has become a signature of solo Flowers. This will be a great live performance track, especially with his knack for showmanship. Highlights are without a doubt 'Can’t Deny My Love' and 'Never Get You Right', which do hint back to the earlier talent. Yet the album is just not particularly special. There is no doubt that Flowers has exceptional ability, that the Killers are one of the greatest bands of their genre, and that The Desired Effect has moments of brilliance, but the album is by no means a constant hit. 

The jury is still out on the next Killers work, but fans no doubt hope that the band they have loved so well does not die a slow death, instead returning as powerful as ever.

Flowers is performing in the UK from 21st - 28th May. Follow him on Twitter

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