Despite all its storied pitfalls, louche reputation and lascivious tourism campaigns, Brandon Flowers remains stubbornly proud of his hometown. The Las Vegas born-and-bred vocalist—whose working hours are usually spent with his band The Killers—named his first solo record, Flamingo, after a Sin City downtown street on which Sam’s Town is located, and where Flowers used to buy his records. Inextricably tied to Vegas in both showmanship and ideology, Flamingo is a bombastic 10-track collection of stadium-ready songs that runs the gamut from expert pop executions and forlorn electro dirges to gospel tunes and even blues-tinged rock (read: pedal steel, and plenty of it).
Flowers wrote the songs on Flamingo over the year and a half he spent touring for Day and Age, the Killers’ third, critically acclaimed studio album. Originally, he’d meant them as material for the band, but circumstances—like being on the road for six years— intervened. The upside to recording the album alone was that without the other members of the Killers, Flowers could call the shots himself; the downside, as he explains, is that he feels “a little bit naked.” He hedged his bets, enlisting production help from a series of renowned talents: Daniel Lanois, Brendan O’Brien and Stuart Price. (Flowers worked with Price before on Day and Age). Together they made an album Flowers says he’s proud of, one that stretches his musical horizons.