Brandon Flowers spent some of his growing up years in the small town of Nephi, Utah; 2019’s census has it’s population down as six thousand and change and one of it’s most popular eateries is the One Man Diner, where you can get the Hungry Breakfast, which according to the menu is two strips of bacon, one sausage patty, tow (Spelling as per) eggs, hashbrowns and two large pancakes for eight bucks, plus tax. Depending on your point of view (of Nephi, not the diner) it’s a place where dreams are made, or go to die.
Now it’s the unlikely backdrop for Pressure Machine, coming hot on the heels of last year’s Imploding the Mirage and a Killers album which the singer admits wouldn’t exist had Covid not broken a link with their audience from their arena-filling shows. In this eerie downtime Flowers wrote a song called Boy that explored events in Nephi that haunted his adolescence; the track didn’t make it, but the idea flew.
Held together by field recorded vignettes from the townsfolk themselves, Pressure Machine tackles some darker issues than Killers fans would normally be used to – opioids, domestic violence, suicide. But the poignancy of songs like Terrible Thing, which deals with being gay in an environment of unrelenting machismo and the Phoebe Bridgers‘ duet Runaway Horses add grit and empathy to a project long on risk for both singer and band. There’s even a return for Dave Keuning, who adds a few notes to In The Car Outside, although now Mark Stoermer it seems has replaced him on the bench. Sitting things out isn’t an option for the people Flowers left behind in Nephi, but at least they now have something new to talk about over breakfast in the One Man Diner.
You can read a full review here.