mon 10/08/2020

CD: Brandon Flowers - The Desired Effect | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Brandon Flowers - The Desired Effect

CD: Brandon Flowers - The Desired Effect

It's big, it's brash but how does it compare to the day job?

Flowers - whetting your appetite

Remember how in the Eighties, lead-singer solo albums would consist of a few songs left over from the day job played on synthesisers? That’s how Killers’ Brandon Flowers' second solo effort feels. At first. The big difference is, back in the day, extra-curricular efforts by the likes of Freddie Mercury or Mick Jagger would exude a thrown-together air. Flowers’ record, on the other hand, has been polished like a Las Vegas hub cap.

The net result, though, is much the same: The Desired Effect sounds like Flowers' main band but with (a fraction) less punch. The blue-collar vignettes are, unsurprisingly, blown up into huge-sounding, panoramic songs laden with hooks and choruses. Flowers, it would seem, has not long yearned to express his inner bluesman. Or jazzer.

Still, what he does he does with impressive conviction. There’s no shortage of Springsteen-like passion on this record. If that were it, it would be an unqualified success. In places, though, the record feels contrived, and this dilutes the impact. Lead single “Can’t Deny My Love” for instance resurrects synth drums that haven’t been heard since the Beverley Hills Cop soundtrack. Similarly, “Lonely Town” is so over-the-top Eighties it wouldn’t sound of place on an early Now album.

Elsewhere, some tracks feel slightly lost without Flowers' bandmates. “Digging Up the Heart” wants to get all Dire Straits circa “Twisting By the Pool” but it’s lacking a guitar shuffle. “Untangled Love” is not a bad track but would be much better with Mark Stoermer’s bass reverberating. Nevertheless, there are at least four first-rate numbers. One is the euphoric “Dreams Come True” (and God knows why it wasn't the first single). Then there's “I Can Change” which references Bronski Beat's "Smalltown Boy" to great effect. Even better are the quirky melodies of “Still Want You” and “Between You and Me” which wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Battle Born. And therein lies the key to this album. Irrespective of Brandon's Desired Effect, the outcome is to whet your appetite ahead of the Killers' next release.

Overleaf: watch the video for "Still Want You"

There’s no shortage of Springsteen-like passion on this record. If that were it, it would be an unqualified success

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Explore topics

Share this article

Add comment

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters