Review: The Killers Are Cockier Than Ever on First Studio LP in Five Years

Our take on 'Wonderful Wonderful,' the fifth album from the nostalgia-loving Vegas rockers

Ronnie Vannucci and Brandon Flowers of the Killers. Credit: Rob Loud/WireImage

The title of the Killers' first LP in five years is sly, with its echo of the "wunnerful, wunnerful" signature of iconic "champagne music" accordionist Lawrence Welk, another shameless crowd-pleaser critics loved to shade. But what do we know? The Killers have made a huge career as bombastic rock magpies working the border between flamboyant earnestness and full-on camp, strategically declining full residency in either locale. What's great about Wonderful Wonderful, though, is that they seem in on the joke, doubling down on their hugeness fetish while wink-winking their way to the bank.

As always, they bite from the best. The goofily self-aggrandizing "The Man" rides Kool and the Gang's "Spirit of the Boogie" groove while frontman Brandon Flowers declares himself a "household name." "Out of My Mind" is an Eighties meta-hit that never was, with Flowers pleading, "Take the needle off the record, I can't stand another chorus!" while name-dropping Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney ("a heavy name to drop," he stage-whispers). The anti-Trump gestures in "Run for Cover" are welcome, but the less-arch bits grate, perhaps knowingly. The U2-Springsteen-New Order triangulation "Life to Come" is exasperatingly solemn until Flowers urges, "Drop-kick the shame!" Hell, he sure has, and it's served him well.