‘Prismism’, the debut solo effort from The Killers co-founder Keuning, is a long album – 14 tracks long – but you don’t realise it when you’re listening, and instead are transported on a retro wave of sound.
‘Prisimism’, which Keuning defines as being about seeing things from all sides, focusing on the details while not losing sight of the bigger picture, is a concept album, and in a theme we seem to be visiting a lot lately, it’s introspective and reflective, in this case Keuning is looking at his life and what is most important. He was burnt out from touring, and wanted to spend more time with his 13 year old son, and so took to his home studio, where he worked on musical ideas he’d come up with over the years. ‘Prismism’ was the result’, with each track examining an aspect of his life from, as it were, all angles.
Listen to ‘Prismism’, and although you can hear The Killers – it’s impossible not to – there’s a flavour to the music which harks back to earlier days. We’re hearing a lot of ELO – especially in ‘Boat Accident’, and also The Cure and New Order (listen to ‘If You Say So’ and tell me otherwise). It’s rather cool that he’s able to capture the vibe of so many different artists, and yet, ultimately, it’s something that’s uniquely Keuning.
The title track is very disconcerting, stopping and starting, with a robotic, industrial sound, but maybe that’s the point. It’s a great track for Keuning to explore his vast musical expertise – after all, he’s been playing guitar in The Killers for 17 years, it’s a nice change to have him on synths, percussion, vocaliser and so on – playing all the instruments himself is prismism in action, he’s looking at everything from all angles.
The highlight on the album for us is just over the halfway mark, track 9, ‘Pretty Faithful’. It’s possibly the song most like The Killers; Keuning is at home behind his guitar, it works like clockwork, and its as post-punk as it comes, it’s fun, it’s loud, it’s grand. But there’s certainly other songs that are worth mentioning – and worth playing more than once. Album closer ‘Hope And Safety’ is the perfect ending, it brings the entire concept to a close.
‘Prismism’ is certainly an album that is worth listening to over and over again, and is surely an instant classic. There is so much to this record which harks back to earlier times, and other bands – not one reference is a bad one, which adds to the brilliance of it. For a first solo effort, this is one which says, “please sir, I want some more” – hopefully it won’t take nearly burning out for Keuning to release another album.