Rockin' Our Turntable: The Killers

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 20, 2008 4:40PM

2008_11_killers.jpgIt seem de rigueur to discount anything The Killers do as passe and self-indulgent, and it's not hard to see why when you consider the damage frontman does to the band every time he opens his mouth. At the same time, we've always thought a band's output should mostly be viewed separately from any blunders its members might make -- Ryan Adams, anyone? -- so for that reason we were one of the 0.26% of the population that actually enjoyed The Killers' last disc, Sam's Town. No, it wasn't the best album off the tear, and at it's best moments it was more watered down disco-Springsteen than anything else, but we dug it anyway.

The band's new album, Day & Age, works to meld the '80s pop beats that brought their debut so much praise, with some of the ideals of the populist sing-alongs that defined the finest moments of Sam's Town. The result is a welcome return to their dancier, groovier tendencies ... though we're sure folks will find a way to have a problem with that. Lead single "Human" has already been knocked around a bit, which seems odd for such a delectable little slice of four-on-the-floor dance-pop. If you don't dig that song, then just avoid the rest of the album, because you're just not going to appreciate the band's guiltier tendencies.

Granted, from time to time those tendencies border on the comic, as when they perform the unholy marriage of Barry Manilow's "Copacobana" melody with instrumentation right out of the most plastic moments of Let's Dance-era David Bowie on "Joyride." And the less said about the faux-epic album closing "Goodnight, Travel Well," the better.

But those moments are rendered mostly moot by excellent tunes like martial marching "This Is Your Life," the Tears For Fears biting "The World We Live In," and the (again) Bowie leaning "Spaceman." These moments never quite reach the giddy heights of anything off Hot Fuss, but it's unreasonable to expect a band that caught so many folks off guard at a certain point in time to ever be able to replicate that same excitement. Instead The Killers have opted to continue their musical growth by co-opting the elements that brought them fame in the first place while injecting their weirder tendencies judiciously.