Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Review: 'Flamingo' by Brandon Flowers for Tom Magazine

I have been busy with Frock Paper Scissors (which is entering an exciting stage at the moment - it's starting to come together!) so haven't done much else recently, bar a few reviews.


Flamingo-Deluxe Edition (Island/ Universal)
Flowers takes a gamble with this Vegas vs. Jesus themed solo record, presenting a somewhat-wilted version of what could have been. On Flamingo, The Killers frontman goes it alone for the first time, telling the story of Las Vegas, Nevada, where he spent much of his formative years. More than with any of his work with The Killers, the influence of Flowers strong religious beliefs is also evident. With such different circumstances and style than his previous offerings, the record is more reflective and acoustic, but not as bright, or memorable as it should be.

The temptation and sin of Las Vegas provides a perfect contrast for tales of loss, desolation, and ultimate redemption. It
s then fair to expect the multiple gambling and neon-light references that pepper the ambitious lyrics. Opening track Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, On the Floor, Only the Young, as well as lead single, Crossfire all seem to touch on a limbo-like physical or emotional state, the search for faith or your place in the world. Then there are lovelorn pleas and narratives to add to the metaphor-heavy mix

Unexpected highlights are the close-to-anthemic
Jilted Lovers and Broken Hearts, and Magdalena, where beautiful lyrics and a classic Flowers chorus meets gospel, and they are on agreeable terms. The only possible reason to pick up the extended Deluxe Edition, which boasts four extra tracks - mostly country-twanged rock - is for Jacksonville. "The sky was blue and the night was all I wanted/ Let me be your comet, I will fly", Flowers sings on the well-packaged track.

He has the sweeping melodies, and clever, yet ostensi
bly touching lyrics perfected;  theres some great vocal work and guest spots by Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley. Theres something about the clean-edged Flamingo, however, that leaves me wanting; it dies down into radio fodder just when you think itll pick up.
(Anna Angel)

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