Originally written September 21, 2010

Album Review:
Flamingo – Brandon Flowers
By Séamus Smyth

While the other band members of the Killers take a much-deserved hiatus, the obvious workaholic Brandon Flowers has released a Las Vegas themed solo debut titled “Flamingo.”
The album returns to a concept that the Killers were fixated on with their second album, “Sam’s Town,” and now Flowers, all by his lonesome, has decided to once again reflect on the highs and lows of Sin City.

Flowers continues to increasingly implement biblical references into his tracks that were once subtle, but are now blatantly obvious, specifically, “Crossfire,” and the gospel-inspired “On the Floor.” Not that it necessarily affects the quality of work, but Flowers runs the risk of alienating fans who may not be as enthused with his pious persistence and may strike the audience as overbearing.

Flowers is a crooning advertisement for Las Vegas, but when you arrive to the shining lights, you’re quick to discover that Flowers is not working the blackjack table or performing at the Cirque de Soleil, but instead is delivering a sermon at the gates sending stern warnings about the temptation and heartbreak that the cold desert tends to deliver. Where Flowers could have played it safe on his solo debut, his flamboyant tactics one again has him experimenting with various forms of instruments and foreign sounds, discovering mixed results. The two aces up Flowers sleeve are unquestionably “Only the Young,” and “Playing with Fire.” “Only the Young” is a melodic piece of heaven that can stand proud towards any of the Killers best work, featuring a glass-shattering falsetto that makes Mariah Carey sound like Louie Armstrong.
“Playing with Fire,” is the modern equivalent to Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” with it’s slow-burn sensation fueled by temptation and regret showcasing the wisdom that Flowers has found in recent years.
Despite these two strong hands, Flowers folds with “Was it something I said?” a track that feels rushed and completely out of place on a album built around the trials and tribulations of the ‘Viva Las Vegas’ attitude.

While the Arcade Fire move up the ranks into the boots of U2 and Jack White continues to become a modern-day rock Lord, Flowers has established himself as the David Bowie of our generation. Does he stumble from time to time? Absolutely. But whether Flowers is dressed up in the feathers of a thousand dead pheasants, or rocking a mustache that Tom Selleck would envy, Flowers has become the most exciting, charismatic front man in the game. Flowers makes no bones about it that he prefers having the other members of the Killers along for the joyride, therefore its understandable when Flamingo feels as though its missing a few essential components.
Flamingo is a brave venture for Flowers, however its comforting to know that the next album that Flowers embarks on will once again feature the massive “K” glittering in the spotlight.

3/5

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