This week’s TV, CD, DVD and book review

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CD

The Killers

Battle Born

The four year hiatus is over for fans of The Killers as the Las Vegans return with their fourth album, Battle Born.

The record is quite straight-forward and plain compared to their previous albums of back-to-back stand-out tracks. Considering the last we heard of front man, Brandon Flowers, was 2010’s solo project Flamingo, featuring the beyond epic, Crossfire, and the eclectically layered lament, Only The Young, this latest venture with The Killers seems like a step backwards.

This album is lacking the glam-rock guitars and Queen-esque ascending vocals that made their previous three so radio and fan-friendly.

They’ve continued with their love of synth-heavy, stadium rock worthy arrangements but haven’t gone anywhere new lyrically or mood-wise, leaving Battle Born feeling like an album of ready-made Killers B-sides that never made it on to previous albums.

BOOK

Desert Island Discs: 70 years of castaways

Sean Magee & Kirsty Young

BBC Radio 4 is often dismissed as stuffy and old-fashioned, holding little relevance in this digital age, but it has been the home of one of the most enduringly relevant radio programmes of all time, Desert Island Discs.

Since the man who devised the programme, Roy Plomley, interviewed the first ever castaway in January 1942, more than 3000 of the day’s most influential, controversial and news-worthy faces have talked through the eight records, one book and single luxury they would take with them to the mythical desert island.

To celebrate 70 years of Desert Island Discs, Kirsty Young, sometime Have I Got News For You anchor and presenter of the radio show since 2006, has brought together over 80 of the most memorable guests to grace the airwaves over the past seven decades.

The show has only had four presenters, who have each scored equally impressive coups with their celebrity bookings.

Plomley, who served as presenter for over forty years had the pleasure of Alfred Hitchcock and Margaret Thatcher’s company, as well as the young, now Sir, Cliff Richard, whom he quizzed about his “frenzied” on-stage dancing.

Plomley’s successors, Michael Parkinson and Sue Lawley, saw the likes of Elton John, Tony Blair and HRH Princess Margaret during the 1980s and 1990s, while today’s presenter, Kirsty Young, has lured similarly impressive guests, from Morrissey to Johnny Vegas, the latter of whom gave, surprisingly, one of the most personal and affecting interviews to be captured in the book.

TV

Ian Hislop’s Stiff Upper Lip-An Emotional History of Britain

Tuesday October 2, 9pm

BBC Two

In the same vein as Andrew Marr’s in-depth celebration of human history, Andrew Marr’s History of the World, which started last Sunday, though perhaps not quite as grandiose or sincere, journalist and panel-show pundit, Ian Hislop, has honed in on a very British quirk in our human history, that of our unique emotional identity, or lack thereof.

The first of the three-episode series reveals how our British stiff upper lip emerged 200 years ago and why, up until then, the country was a surprisingly touchy-feely, sentimental place.

Told through a colourful array of historical personalities, Hislop guides us through a period of profound transition for Britain and explains how we came to be a nation of such introverted, emotionally restrained characters.

DVD

Jeff Who Lives at Home

Cert. 15

Ed Helms (The Hangover) Jason Segel (The Muppets) and Oscar-winner, Susan Sarandon (Thelma & Louise) star as a disjointed family making do with their lot, missing their late father/husband, putting up with each other and despairing at Jeff’s (Segel) half-hearted search for the meaning of life.

Despite prophesising about the intricacies of the universe, Jeff must first take the step of leaving the comfort of his mother’s basement before he can embark on what turns out to be one perfect day of signs, serendipitous moments and eventual self-fulfilment.

Writing/directing team, brothers Jay and Mark Duplass, made their name making creative short films and have stuck to their indie roots with this small, thoughtful production.

Jeff Who Lives At Home is a film about enlightenment without the condescending ‘personal journey’ talk but WITH the often-missing humour that similar stories fail to successfully incorporate.

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