Brandon Flowers – Flamingo
The Killers main-man takes his first steps out of the comfort zone of his band with solo album Flamingo, which shows off his song-writing ability but is ultimately devoid of charm and charisma.
With The Killers Brandon Flowers has made a name for himself as one of the most well-known and recognisable rock front-men in the world. Now that the rest of his band have decided to take a well-earned break, the enigmatic singer is able to release an album that is all his own work. This situation usually leads to an artist releasing a solo album full of new ideas and different creative approaches. In this case it just feels like the work of a one-trick pony going through the motions.
Although Flamingo is full of well crafted and accomplished songs, it lacks the sort of charm and originality you would expect from such an established performer.
The album opens with Flowers yet again drawing on his hometown of Las Vegas for inspiration – using the city of broken dreams as a metaphor for the American Dream etc… etc… “Give us your dreamers, your harlots and your sin / Las Vegas / Didn’t nobody tell you / The house will always win?”
For fans looking for the sort of tempo and urgency associated with The Killers, the album doesn’t really get going until the fourth song. ‘Jilted Lovers And Broken Hearts’ is perhaps the most Killers-y song here – the slow, expectant intro builds into a pacey verse that opens up into a barn-storming chorus that would make Springsteen proud. First single ‘Crossfire’ sounds suitably massive for the albums centrepiece and boasts another mammoth chorus that will surely get hands-in-the-air when Flowers takes Flamingo to the arenas.
Elsewhere, ‘Playing With Fire’ is full of the sincere naivety of an early Neil Young song and is a testament to Flowers ability as a song-writer. Mostly though, Flamingo is littered with songs that, nice as they may be, are not exactly exciting. Most of it has a middle-of-the-road, Radio 2 vibe – with Flowers happily hiding behind the well-worn Killers formula of cinematic, expansive soft-rock ballads rather than attempting anything risky or radical.
While Flamingo showcases Flowers’ undoubted talents as a songwriter and is not without its highlights – it has the feel of a stop-gap to keep fans interested before The Killers return.