The Killers – Rebel Diamonds

A snapshot of a much-loved band...

Right from the start, The Killers made anthems – songs built for huge, open vistas, tracks tailormade for vast spaces. A perfectly formed stadium outfit, they’ve moved from glittering indie rock ‘n’ roll bangers through to Heartland rock deviations, all while remaining true to the bonds between them, and intent that initially drove them to success. Collating 20 tracks – 18 archive, and a pair of freshly minted releases – ‘Rebel Diamonds’ is the pitch perfect summation of two decades of glitzy Las Vegas entertainment.

The high points on this collection are part of the modern music lexicon. The sheer pop heft of ‘Mr. Brightside’, the pulsating festival thrills that dominate ‘Somebody Told Me’, and the crunching chutzpah of ‘The Man’. It’s remarkable how fresh it all sounds – if you can vividly recall hearing opening track ‘Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine’ all those years ago, then it’s placement here opens up new layers, new aspects of excitement.

The newer material, too, resonates deeply. The Steinbeck images of ‘A Dustland Fairytale’, the wonderful ‘My Own Soul’s Warning’ or the avalanche of sound that is ‘Dying Breed’ would earn a glorious place in any band’s repertoire. Brandon Flowers’ evolution as a songwriter is mirrored to the band’s own growth, stripping back the gloss to reveal a beating heart.

A recap, rather than a farewell, ‘Rebel Diamonds’ is a snapshot of a band in motion. The two new songs here – ‘Your Side Of Town’ and the chest-bursting ‘Spirit’ – are well worth the price of entry for fans, potent statements that rank with their best work.

There’s an argument to be made that ‘Best Of’ compilations have been superseded in the streaming era. On one hand, ‘Rebel Diamonds’ can be matched by a fan’s own specially curated playlist, bringing together their own depiction of the Killers, past and present. Yet there’s something worthwhile about hearing the artists’ own curation – the dips and falls of the catalogue, as viewed from the inside. On music merit alone, ‘Rebel Diamonds’ is essential.


Words: Robin Murray

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