Brandon Flowers best asset has always been his ability to convey emotion with even the most basic of lyrical content. Look at the Killers “Andy, You’re A Star” which soars like an epic even if the words are no more than jocular reminiscence. So now you have Flowers second solo outing which he has referred to as “what the Killers second record should have sounded like” and expectations begin to run high. BUT – that has always been what Flowers does, he shoots from the hip and sometimes he hits the mark and sometimes… well, not so much.
The Desired Effect comes off as being influenced by the biggest stadium rockers of the 80’s. “Dreams Come True” points towards Born In The USA Springsteen and it is followed by “Can’t Deny My Love” which is reminiscent of Security era Peter Gabriel. However both are bogged down with lyrical metaphors that drip of modern country music formula.
Things pick up by “I Can Change” which runs off a sample of Bronski Beat’s “Small Town Boy”, but I’m unsure if the rise in my attention was really due to Flowers song or his chosen sample. There are moments of playfulness (“Still Want You”), tenderness (“Between Me and You”) and renewed love (“Untangled Love”) but again the images seem to conjure little more than a closing sequence of Friday Night Lights mixed with a soundtrack of “the best songs you didn’t hear in the 80’s.”
The Desired Effect has the unfortunate problem of being bogged down in the sounds of a time long past without a twist of something new. It’s a perfectly pleasant listen but it also comes with a quick expiration date.