The Killers – ‘Caution’ first listen: a propulsive charge for the synth-rock horizon

The Killers' 2020 comeback comes complete with a stupendous guitar solo from Lindsey Buckingham – formerly of Fleetwood Mac

As the nation awaits news of whether the government plans to step up the country’s sluggish coronavirus response to include a month of solid duvet days, one act that’s wasting no time in stepping up is The Killers.

Ever since the likes of ‘When You Were Young’ and ‘Spaceman’ fixed a warp drive to their edgy brand of canyon bombast they’ve had one of rock’s most powerful engines thrumming under the hood. The first single from The Killers’ forthcoming sixth album really pushes pedal to metal to see what this baby can do.

On ‘Caution’, the disco strut of ‘The Man’ and the inventive sensitivities of 2017’s ‘Wonderful Wonderful’ are set aside for a propulsive charge for the synth rock horizon, with Brandon Flowers once more out to make heroes of the downbeaten. “Let me introduce you to the featherweight queen,” he sings. “She got Hollywood eyes but she can’t shoot what she sees/Her mama was a dancer and that’s all that she knew/‘Cause when you live in the desert it’s what pretty girls do.”

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Our heroine isn’t taking everything lying down though. “I’m throwing caution,” Brandon declares on her behalf as a dustbowl tornado of euphoric synths, monstrous drums and electronic bagpipes hits the chorus. “Tonight the winds of change are blowing wild and free/If I don’t get out, out of this town I might just be the one to burn it down.”

The Killers claim they’ve been probing previously uncharted areas of their childhood record collections for the new album, places where Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel spin slowly under blood red suns, but ‘Caution’ sounds more like an explosion of jubilance and relief that ‘Wonderful Wonderful’ is finally out of their system.

The Killers, 2020. Credit: Olivia Bee

Rather than conquer new territories it builds 50 storeys of sound on its homeland. They’ve been mining retro synthrock for almost 20 years and here is where the 1980s revival comes of age, finally encompassing everything the 21st Century can throw at it.

It all culminates in a stupendous guitar solo which – considering Dave Kuening remains absent from press photos – is probably the most exciting thing that special guest guitarist Lindsey Buckingham – formerly of Fleetwood Mac – has done since he broke the chain. Whatever The Killers are on, they should put it in the water.

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