Brandon Flowers’ debut solo album has been a hit with the public – it’s currently at Number One in the UK – but not with critics, who seem to have been baffled by the concept of a guy going solo, and then serving up pretty much the same kind of music he was already making with his band.
NME’s Hamish MacBain was particularly scathing, calling ‘Flamingo”s opening track a “pisstake of ‘Thunder Road’, and likening the rest of it to “insipid pea soup”.
Johnny Davis in Q gave the album three stars, calling it “almost as good as The Killers but not quite”, which seems a fair assessment. Neil Ashman, writing for Drowned In Sound, gave it 6/10.
Caroline Sullivan was similarly even-handed in her Observer review, calling ‘Flamingo’ “likeable if not exactly lovable”.
Have reviewers been too harsh? If The Killers man’s career can be seen a constant to and fro between glittery pop (‘Day And Age’, those feathery epaulettes etc) and clench-jawed “authentic” rock (‘Sam’s Town’), then ‘Flamingo’ is definitely a lurch towards the latter.
That means we get a lot of hollering all-American bombast about redemption and open roads. But also some cavernously huge choruses – ‘Crossfire’, ‘Jilted Lovers And Broken Hearts’ – and a lot of unarguably slick FM rock (‘Hard Enough’, featuring Jenny Lewis, is particularly fine).
It’s just a shame it doesn’t include the cover of Kim Carnes’ ‘Bette David Eyes’ that Brandon’s been doing live lately.
But what do you make of ‘Flamingo’? Now you’ve had a week to live with it, post your reviews below.