Killers - Pressure Machine

  by Zena Grieg

published: 22 / 9 / 2021

Killers - Pressure Machine

Label: Universal Music
Format: CD
Cinematic and reflective new album from The Killers, which was inspired by frontman Brandon Flowers' return to his small and conservative home town in Utah.


When The Killers released their last album ‘Imploding the Mirage’ in autumn 2020, they were about to take this on a world tour, which the pandemic stopped. Their new album ‘Pressure Machine’, a cinematic, musical snapshot of American rural life, emerged from their enforced inactivity. The focus of this new album is the return by frontman Brandon Flowers to his hometown Nephi, population 6,000, a rural community in stark contrast to Las Vegas, where The Killers were formed. Inspired by Flowers’ teenage memories and character studies, the eleven tracks on their seventh album, reflective and characterised by a fine feeling for scene-setting and narrative, are interspersed by spoken commentaries by Flowers’ fellow Utahns. Themes include: the small town’s major drug problems in ‘West Hills’; dashed hopes in ‘In Another Life;’ homophobia in ‘Terrible Thing’ where a teenager contemplates suicide in the face of the intolerance of the “barbed wire town”, where “culture is king”; domestic violence and vengeance in ‘Desperate Things; and ultimately hope in the closer ‘The Getting By’ about the indomitable spirit of his fellow Utah citizens. Highlights include: the opener ‘West Hills’ with its acoustic instrumentation, sombre strings and building rock climax; the poignant ballad ‘Terrible Thing’ with its piercing lyrics: “’Round here we all take up our cross and hang on His holy name/But the cards that I was dealt will get you thrown out of the game”; and the closer ‘The Getting By’ with its quintessential Killers “outro”. 'Pressure Machine' is an accomplished album, stripped back, emotional and lyrical, with songs which Flowers said “would have otherwise been too quiet and drowned out by the noise of typical Killers records”. It calls for repeated listening.

Track Listing:-

1 West Hills
2 Quiet Town
3 Terrible Thing
4 Cody
5 Sleepwalker
6 Runaway Horses [feat. Phoebe Bridgers]
7 In The Car Outside
8 In Another Life
9 Desperate Things
10 Pressure Machine
11 The Getting By

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