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The Killers|Pressure Machine (Abridged)

Pressure Machine (Abridged)

The Killers

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Less than a year after the release of their critically acclaimed sixth album Imploding the Mirage, the Killers returned with the melancholic Pressure Machine, a stark rumination on small-town life set to the most pensive, yet touching soundscapes in their catalog to date. This is not a typical Killers album: stripped of their typical Vegas bombast, rousing anthems, and glittering showmanship, the set reveals the dark side of the Sam's Town trailer park, a place of depression, fundamentalism, desperation, and violence. Yet it's also a place where doors remain unlocked at night, kids go hunting and dirt bike riding, and a quiet sense of pride courses through the souls of the God-fearing. Steeped in personal memories and fleshed-out by stories of people from his hometown of Nephi, Utah (snippets of interviews from current locals introduce each song on the album), Pressure Machine finds frontman Brandon Flowers in reflective mode, meditating on provincial American life through a strikingly personal lens. Channeling these assorted townsfolk -- blue-collar laborers, addicts, suicidal teens, and the blissfully insular -- Flowers maintains his position as one of his generation's most effective storytellers, capturing the resignation of a small town where residents don't mind that they've "never seen the ocean" because the ultimate treasure awaits "way up high" in heaven. Despite these bleak views of a suffocated population of humble people just trying to get by, he's careful to respect their stories, creating a patchwork of experiences that is oddly beautiful and heartfelt. From the high school sweethearts who never left town ("We'll be here forever," the interviewee says at the start of the sweeping, string-backed opener "West Hills") to the ones who felt they only had one way to escape (on the devastating "Terrible Thing"), listeners are plunged into this world, meeting a cast of characters that are humanized and utterly relatable. While not a cheerful listen, the album works best as a narrative experience, a series of cinematic peeks behind the curtain of everyday life, like on the pastoral "Runaway Horses," where guest vocalist Phoebe Bridgers backs Flowers as he frames the horror of a rodeo girl and her injured steed into a moving coming-of-age tale that is at once intimate and absolutely beautiful. Through these weighty snapshots, the band -- a reunited Dave Keuning, Mark Stoermer, and Ronnie Vannucci -- relies on simplicity and restraint with acoustic guitars, harmonica, sweeping strings, and modest percussion. For fans in search of those trademark synths, sky-high guitars, and galloping drums, there are only a few moments that get the toes tapping (the Springsteen-with-synths of "Quiet Town," the driving synth pop of "In the Car Outside," and the full-bodied rocker "In Another Life"). Otherwise, Pressure Machine remains dour and bittersweet. This matured focus on concept and mood saves the album from becoming an odd catalog misstep, serving instead as a dignified artistic exercise that rewards the band's bravery by becoming the most heartfelt and poignant statement of their careers.
© Neil Z. Yeung /TiVo

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Pressure Machine (Abridged)

The Killers

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1
West Hills (Abridged)
00:05:07

Emily Lazar, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Sara Watkins, Fiddle, AssociatedPerformer - Rob Moose, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Brandon Flowers, Piano, Vocals, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Dave Keuning, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Ronnie Vannucci, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - The Killers, MainArtist - Shawn Everett, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Matt Breunig, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Joe Pug, Harmonica, AssociatedPerformer - Chris Allgood, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jonathan Rado, Producer, Guitar, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Gabriel Cabezas, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Jed Jones, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Will Maclellan, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2021 The Killers

2
Quiet Town (Abridged)
00:04:16

Emily Lazar, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Brandon Flowers, Vocals, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Ronnie Vannucci, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - The Killers, MainArtist - Shawn Everett, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Matt Breunig, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Joe Pug, Harmonica, AssociatedPerformer - Chris Allgood, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jonathan Rado, Producer, Guitar, Piano, Bass, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Anjolee Williams, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Jed Jones, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Will Maclellan, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Raoul Ahmad, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Charles "ChuckHeat" Henderson-McCrary, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Alec Eitrem, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2021 The Killers

3
Terrible Thing (Abridged)
00:03:56

Emily Lazar, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Brandon Flowers, Vocals, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - The Killers, MainArtist - Shawn Everett, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Joe Pug, Harmonica, AssociatedPerformer - Chris Allgood, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jonathan Rado, Producer, Guitar, Harmonica, AssociatedPerformer - Will Maclellan, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2021 The Killers

4
Cody (Abridged)
00:03:36

Emily Lazar, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Sara Watkins, Fiddle, AssociatedPerformer - Nate Walcott, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - Brandon Flowers, Vocals, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Dave Keuning, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Ronnie Vannucci, Drums, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - The Killers, MainArtist - Shawn Everett, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Robert Root, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Matt Breunig, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Chris Allgood, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jonathan Rado, Producer, Guitar, Mandolin, Organ, Piano, Bass, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jed Jones, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Will Maclellan, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Raoul Ahmad, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Alec Eitrem, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2021 The Killers

5
Sleepwalker (Abridged)
00:04:04

Emily Lazar, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Brandon Flowers, Vocals, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Dave Keuning, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Ronnie Vannucci, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - The Killers, MainArtist - Shawn Everett, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Chris Allgood, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jonathan Rado, Producer, Guitar, Mandolin, Piano, Recording Engineer, Bass, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Matthew Davidson, Pedal Steel, AssociatedPerformer - Jed Jones, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Will Maclellan, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rias Reed, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2021 The Killers

6
Runaway Horses (Abridged)
00:03:23

Emily Lazar, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rob Moose, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Brandon Flowers, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Dave Keuning, Guitar, Pedal Steel, AssociatedPerformer - Ronnie Vannucci, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - The Killers, MainArtist - Shawn Everett, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Phoebe Bridgers, Vocals, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Joe Pug, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Chris Allgood, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jonathan Rado, Producer, Guitar, Organ, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Gabriel Cabezas, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Matthew Davidson, Pedal Steel, AssociatedPerformer - Will Maclellan, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2021 The Killers

7
In The Car Outside (Abridged)
00:04:48

Emily Lazar, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Brandon Flowers, Vocals, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Dave Keuning, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Ronnie Vannucci, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - The Killers, MainArtist - Shawn Everett, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Matt Breunig, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Chris Allgood, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jonathan Rado, Producer, Guitar, Bass, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jed Jones, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Will Maclellan, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2021 The Killers

8
In Another Life (Abridged)
00:03:13

Emily Lazar, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Sara Watkins, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Brandon Flowers, Vocals, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Dave Keuning, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Ronnie Vannucci, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - The Killers, MainArtist - Shawn Everett, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Chris Allgood, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jonathan Rado, Producer, Guitar, Recording Engineer, Bass, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Jed Jones, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Will Maclellan, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rias Reed, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Raoul Ahmad, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Alec Eitrem, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2021 The Killers

9
Desperate Things (Abridged)
00:05:21

Emily Lazar, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Brandon Flowers, Piano, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Ronnie Vannucci, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - The Killers, MainArtist - Shawn Everett, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Matt Breunig, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Chris Allgood, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jonathan Rado, Producer, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jed Jones, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2021 The Killers

10
Pressure Machine (Abridged)
00:04:44

Emily Lazar, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Sara Watkins, Fiddle, AssociatedPerformer - Rob Moose, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Brandon Flowers, Vocals, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Dave Keuning, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Ronnie Vannucci, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - The Killers, MainArtist - Shawn Everett, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Robert Root, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Chris Allgood, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jonathan Rado, Producer, Recording Engineer, Bass, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Gabriel Cabezas, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Matthew Davidson, Pedal Steel, AssociatedPerformer - Will Maclellan, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rias Reed, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2021 The Killers

11
The Getting By (Abridged)
00:03:48

Emily Lazar, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rob Moose, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Brandon Flowers, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - The Killers, MainArtist - Shawn Everett, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Taylor Goldsmith, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Griffin Goldsmith, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Chris Allgood, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jonathan Rado, Producer, Guitar, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Gabriel Cabezas, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Will Maclellan, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rias Reed, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Raoul Ahmad, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Alec Eitrem, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2021 The Killers

Album Description

Less than a year after the release of their critically acclaimed sixth album Imploding the Mirage, the Killers returned with the melancholic Pressure Machine, a stark rumination on small-town life set to the most pensive, yet touching soundscapes in their catalog to date. This is not a typical Killers album: stripped of their typical Vegas bombast, rousing anthems, and glittering showmanship, the set reveals the dark side of the Sam's Town trailer park, a place of depression, fundamentalism, desperation, and violence. Yet it's also a place where doors remain unlocked at night, kids go hunting and dirt bike riding, and a quiet sense of pride courses through the souls of the God-fearing. Steeped in personal memories and fleshed-out by stories of people from his hometown of Nephi, Utah (snippets of interviews from current locals introduce each song on the album), Pressure Machine finds frontman Brandon Flowers in reflective mode, meditating on provincial American life through a strikingly personal lens. Channeling these assorted townsfolk -- blue-collar laborers, addicts, suicidal teens, and the blissfully insular -- Flowers maintains his position as one of his generation's most effective storytellers, capturing the resignation of a small town where residents don't mind that they've "never seen the ocean" because the ultimate treasure awaits "way up high" in heaven. Despite these bleak views of a suffocated population of humble people just trying to get by, he's careful to respect their stories, creating a patchwork of experiences that is oddly beautiful and heartfelt. From the high school sweethearts who never left town ("We'll be here forever," the interviewee says at the start of the sweeping, string-backed opener "West Hills") to the ones who felt they only had one way to escape (on the devastating "Terrible Thing"), listeners are plunged into this world, meeting a cast of characters that are humanized and utterly relatable. While not a cheerful listen, the album works best as a narrative experience, a series of cinematic peeks behind the curtain of everyday life, like on the pastoral "Runaway Horses," where guest vocalist Phoebe Bridgers backs Flowers as he frames the horror of a rodeo girl and her injured steed into a moving coming-of-age tale that is at once intimate and absolutely beautiful. Through these weighty snapshots, the band -- a reunited Dave Keuning, Mark Stoermer, and Ronnie Vannucci -- relies on simplicity and restraint with acoustic guitars, harmonica, sweeping strings, and modest percussion. For fans in search of those trademark synths, sky-high guitars, and galloping drums, there are only a few moments that get the toes tapping (the Springsteen-with-synths of "Quiet Town," the driving synth pop of "In the Car Outside," and the full-bodied rocker "In Another Life"). Otherwise, Pressure Machine remains dour and bittersweet. This matured focus on concept and mood saves the album from becoming an odd catalog misstep, serving instead as a dignified artistic exercise that rewards the band's bravery by becoming the most heartfelt and poignant statement of their careers.
© Neil Z. Yeung /TiVo

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