It’s official: last Friday (September 9), The Killers returned to the studio in Las Vegas to record their fifth album. It will be their first since 2012’s ‘Battle Born‘ and, as with any eagerly anticipated record, there’s been a ton of rumours about it flying around. Are they working with Elton John? Is it gonna sound like ‘Hot Fuss‘? What’s Ryan Tedder got to do with it? Here’s everything we know so far.
When will it be released?
Seeing as the band are in the studio now, as long as all goes well 2017 seems likely for a release. Late last year frontman Brandon Flowers told NME the band were in the early stages of writing and “in a perfect world” fans will be able to hear new music “at the end of 2016 maybe”. However, drummer Ronnie Vanucci Jr. told radio station KX 93.5 he couldn’t “comfortably, confidently say” the record would be out before 2017.
What will it sound like?
The band debuted a snippet of a new track that could be called ‘One More Song’ at a show in Windsor, Ontario in June 2016. It was played by a solo Brandon on piano and featured lyrics like “Have all these years been worth it?/Am I the great regret?” and “Have all the songs been written?/Oh, I just need one to get through to you“. If it makes it to the new record, expect it to be a lot more fleshed out, but it could signal a reflective kind of songwriting from Flowers.
Drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr. told DIY ahead of re-entering the studio he expected the band’s new sessions to be “surprising” because “when we get in [the studio] we come at it from one direction, and then it’ll go another direction”.
Fansite The Killers News cites Alt Nation radio host Jenny Eliscu as saying the band had told her ahead of their set at Firefly Festival in 2015. they were looking to get back to their early influences. Flowers told The Sun the group were aiming for a “powerful rock vibe” and also told Loaded: “What I want is to take the experience of playing over a thousand shows and mix that with the enthusiasm we had making our first album, ‘Hot Fuss’.”
In that same interview, the frontman revealed the band had been working on a new song called ‘Look Alive’, which is about a soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Could this album be more politically-minded?
Whatever it sounds like, expect it to sound different from ‘Battle Born’ – Flowers admitted last year that the record “wasn’t good enough”.
Who are they working with?
In his interview with DIY, Vannucci Jr. said rumours about the band working with Elton John were “just rumours” and that they were “we’re starting to work with another person now”, but didn’t want to reveal who it was.
Previous reports claimed that the band were looking to work with producers Flood and Alan Moulder again, but the drummer said they hadn’t “figured it out yet” and will “always try and work with” Moulder.
OneRepublic vocalist and producer Ryan Tedder told NME earlier this year that he was working with the band on their fifth album. “We’re still in the process [of making the album] and I can’t speak as to their timing or anything,” he said in May. “But I love what we’ve started immensely, obsessively even. It sounds 100% like them and nothing like me.”
Have we seen the artwork yet?
Nothing as yet.
What’s it called?
Again, no word.
What have they been doing since ‘Battle Born’?
The band released a greatest hits collection called ‘Direct Hits‘ in 2014, which featured two new songs – ‘Shot At The Night’ and ‘Just Another Girl’. They’re also gearing up to celebrate the 10th anniversary of ‘Sam’s Town‘ with two shows at Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall in Las Vegas from September 30 to October 1. They’ll also reissue the album on a special two-disc vinyl.
Flowers released his second solo album, ‘The Desired Effect‘, with which he scored his second solo Number One album in the UK. Flowers performed at Barack Obama‘s National Clean Energy Summit in 2015 and for members of the Royal Family at the Royal Variety Performance in the same year.
Vannucci Jr. also released his second album with his own side project Big Talk in 2015. ‘Straight In, No Kissin’‘ followed the band’s 2011 self-titled debut and was partially recorded at The Killers’ Battle Born studios in Las Vegas.
Bassist Mark Stoermer joined Smashing Pumpkins for a handful of shows to tour their album ‘Monuments To An Elegy‘ in 2014. In June 2015, it was confirmed he would no longer play with Billy Corgan‘s band. Just prior to that announcement, it was confirmed he would take a break from touring with The Killers to make another solo album and “pursue other educational goals”. He released his first solo album ‘Another Life‘ in 2011 and his second, ‘Dark Arts‘, followed in August 2016.
Stoermer also performed with Dhani Harrison on Late Night With Conan O’Brien on two songs during the show’s George Harrison week.
Guitarist Dave Keuning, meanwhile, hasn’t released any music outside of The Killers, but he told Australian site Tone Deaf he had been working on music that could potentially be for a solo or side project. He also made a guest appearance with Imagine Dragons on their song ‘Nothing Left To Say’ when they performed in San Diego in 2014.
Will they tour this year?
They’re playing two dates in Las Vegas to celebrate the 10th anniversary of second album ‘Sam’s Town’, plus dates in Atlanta and Toronto, and an appearance at Corona Capital festival in Mexico. Beyond that, it seems unlikely they’ll embark on a more extensive run of dates, especially as they’re back at work in the studio.