Brandon Flowers - solo effort in full bloom
When a lead singer of a group goes solo, it's usually because they want to set out and do something they couldn't necessarily accomplish with their band. Remember Gwen Stefani trading in her rock roots for dance shoes? Yeah, we "ain't no hollaback girl" either, but that's beside the point.
So, when Brandon Flowers announced he would release a solo album in September of 2010, it was assumed his sound would venture into a different direction than that of his band, The Killers.
However, with "Flamingo," Brandon Flowers' sound is so similar to his band that it's difficult to tell any difference between his band and his solo project from listening to the songs.
Titling the album "Flamingo," an ode to the road that intersects the Las Vegas Strip, is one of the many tributes to his hometown. Unfortunately, "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas," the first track, fails to leave a lasting impression.
Despite its drab start, the rest of the album gets better. "Only the Young" is the album's first indication that Flowers is capable of being as great a solo artist as a member of the Killers. With a hauntingly heartfelt delivery, it's a song you'll go back to and feel like you're hearing for the first time.
"Jilted Lovers and Broken Hearts" is the most Killers-esque of the bunch, delivering a catchy, high-strung hook. "Playing with Fire" slows things down again and Flowers' performance excels.
Flowers, a Mormon, embraces his spirituality with religious concepts and references throughout the album. Lyrics such as "We're caught in the crossfire of heaven and hell" ("Crossfire"), and a theme of redemption ("On the Floor"), showcase his upbringing. It's this, alongside a few other mentions of salvation and temptation that sets the album apart.
With "Flamingo," Flowers has joined the ranks of the greats. He's an elaborate storyteller; a modern-day Springsteen and Cash. Mixed in with the Brandon Flowers you already know, the outcome is an album of solid material.
It's not perfect all the way through, but the few tracks that feel like fillers are over-shadowed by the album's strong moments. Simply put, it's refreshing in this day and age, when lyrical depth is scarce and where top-40 radio hits lack substance. So for that, thank you, Brandon.