Brandon Flowers: Flamingo

Brandon Flowers: Flamingo

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Brandon Flowers

Album: Flamingo
Label: Island

Just because he’s the lead singer of a wildly successfully rock band doesn’t necessarily mean that Brandon Flowers is a great frontman. Sure, he’s a good-looking dude, and there’s no denying that “Mr. Brightside” wouldn’t be the slice of pop perfection it is without all that convincing desperation in his voice, but he’s like the rest of The Killers: talented enough to keep a good pop-rock band afloat in a sea of fickle fans, but hardly a musical marvel whose abilities are worth dissecting and emulating. By stepping out on his own while his main project is on the back burner, Flowers has set himself up to be scrutinized in a way that seems potentially disastrous. But to his credit, Flamingo succeeds more than it fails because he doesn’t try to do anything beyond his skill set. The Killers-lite formula may make for an album that isn’t as impressive as the rest of his discography, but Flowers’ comfort zone is still an enjoyable place to visit for 40 minutes. With a title that already tips its cap to its creator’s hometown, Flamingo immediately takes a shot at Sin City’s façade in “Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas,” warning that “the house will always win” over some mid-tempo, piano-banging drama. The city’s Visitors Authority will be similarly unimpressed with the unrequited love on Tropicana Boulevard in “Was It Something I Said?” and the unflattering gambling references in “Jilted Lovers & Broken Hearts”—which has some “Brightside”-esque kick to it, delectable desperation and all—yet Killers fans will appreciate the hook-laden pomp and circumstance. But the album’s finest four minutes come in the more subdued “Hard Enough,” in which Flowers and fellow Vegas native Jenny Lewis make going through tough times sound beautiful.