Anyone surfing onto The Killers’ website last month may have been curious to find a clock countdown. To what was unclear, causing speculation to mount – were the band splitting? Was there a new album? Was guitarist Dave Keuning finally getting a haircut?
All was revealed when the timer ran out. Brandon Flowers was stepping out to release his own album, ‘Flamingo’. This news follows the official dismissal some months ago that The Killers had split. ‘Flamingo’, says Brandon, is merely his first opportunity to do something outwith the band – not that he had much choice, he tells Clash: “A couple of the guys wanted to take a long, well-deserved break and I didn’t.”
Flowers’ own website features an exclusive excerpt of an as-yet untitled song – the instrumental clip has an acoustic guitar gently picking over a steady but pounding drum beat, with delicate arpeggiated synths embellishing under Brandon’s breathy falsetto punctuative gasps. It’s understated yet tranquil pop, suggesting a step away from The Killers’ towering anthems.
“It’s not so much that these are that different or that I’m fulfilling some need to do anything different as much as I’m fulfilling my need to keep making music and moving forward,” he tells Clash, calling from his home in Las Vegas, which has served as the inspiration for ‘Flamingo’ – named after a street and one of the city’s first casinos. The songs, all written during The Killers’ ‘Day And Age’ tour, stem from Flowers’ memories and personal connection to the city, emphasised by his absence: “It’s almost easier to write about it and look at it when you’re away from it than it is when you’re home,” he says.
Producers on ‘Flamingo’ include Stuart Price, Daniel Lanois and Brendan O’Brien, while songs already confirmed are ‘Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas’ and ‘Hard Enough’, with guest vocals by Rilo Kiley’s Jenny Lewis.
The release date is still to be confirmed – in the meantime, Brandon remains optimistic when faced with the question of whether his fans will enjoy his solo direction. “I don’t know how much of a departure it is, but I react to it and I think people will too.”
Illustration by Stephen Collins
*UPDATE – Find out more about Flowers’ new single ‘Crossfire’ and the album HERE.