A Dustland Fairytale
The World We Live In
en: Day & Age [info]
It could be their Las Vegas roots, but something about The Killers always feels a bit false, as if they're not sure themselves who they want to be, let alone what they want the rest of us to believe them to be.
Hot Fuss came overloaded and overawed by their influences and Sam's Town was an open attempt to enter The Great American Songbook, with the guys even going so far as to get all beardy and Band-like to prove they meant it.
So does Day And Age, the third album proper (side-stepping the curious compilation Sawdust), finally show a band that's comfortable and making their own sound?
The answer, as ever with Brandon Flowers' contrary bunch, isn't a simple one. Sitting in the lowlands next to Sam's Town's rockier sound, a cursory listen suggests that they are more confident songwriters, but dig a little deeper and things aren't as certain.
It opens well enough. Losing Touch raises the curtain in a suitably dramatic way and the oddly addictive Human follows, keeping things tight despite its abysmal lyrics and insane euro-pop backing track.
After that, it's a hit and miss rollercoaster. On the upside, A Dustland Fairytale is jam-packed with their trademark driving rhythms and surging chords, and Spaceman is a throbbing, rushing joy.
But they aren't enough to outweigh the fillers though. The likes of The World We Live In and This Is Your Life have the hallmarks of rush jobs, owing too much to the bands that they so obviously idolise, while the odd funk of Joy Ride is just weird – and not in a good way.
Indeed, were it not for the dirty bass punch of A Crippling Blow at the close, the entire second half of the album could have been written off as a slow, forgettable slide into mediocrity.
Day And Age ends up feeling less like a completed piece and more like a work-in-progress, much like the band themselves. It seems The Killers still don't know what sort of band they are and after three albums, you can't help but suspect they never will.