The five years since Battle Born has been a long wait for fans, made longer by the fact the band had been teasing new material for the better part of eighteen months. After a stream of teasers on social media and the promise to have new material in time for their one official UK performance this year at British Summer Time in Hyde Park on July 7th, The Killers duly delivered in the form of their new single ‘The Man’.
Set as the lead title from their fifth studio album Wonderful Wonderful, which is set to be released in September, the disco-heavy track is built upon a bass sample from Kool & The Gang’s 1975 hit ‘Spirit of the Boogie’. From their new wave debut Hot Fuss to a love letter to small town Americana in their last album, 2012’s Battle Born, The Killers have often been ones for experimentation within the indie rock genre, and ‘The Man’ is quite unlike anything the band have done before.
Its satirical lyrics subvert boisterous masculinity, based on the band’s own confessed feeling of “invincibility” during their early days, and border on the absurd
While upon its first few listens the song sounds far more like a leftover from Brandon Flower’s last solo effort The Desired Effect than a Killers song, ‘The Man’ is infectiously catchy. Its satirical lyrics subvert boisterous masculinity, based on the band’s own confessed feeling of “invincibility” during their early days, and border on the absurd at points with Flowers shouting “USDA Certified Lean”. ‘The Man’ is evidence of the experimentation promised by the band, with drummer Ronnie Vannucci telling NME during the album’s early development: “We’re trying to arrive at something we’re all just a little bit uncomfortable with. When everyone is slightly uncomfortable, then we know we’re there.”
While the single has already proved its credentials as a crowd pleasing festival hit during The Killers’ surprise set at Glastonbury last weekend, those who prefer the Las Vegas natives’ traditional sound set not to be disappointed by the new album with Flowers stating “It’s the closest thing we’ve done to Sam’s Town”, inspired in part by two shows to celebrate the album’s 10th birthday last year.
The Killers told Entertainment Weekly in a recent interview that the album will be a “cohesive unit”, with Ryan Tedder (who has worked with Beyoncé, Adele and OneRepublic) and Bleachers’ frontman Jack Antonoff among a number of contributors. Whether Wonderful Wonderful will receive the same mixed response as Battle Born or reach the heights of Hot Fuss is to be seen, but for now fans will be satisfied with the fact that the wait is finally over – and ‘The Man’ does enough to help tide them over until September.