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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
The Killers
Day & Age
Island

Rating: 7/10 ?


December 5, 2008
It seems safe to say that we'll never take the Killers as seriously as they'd like us to; if we did, how many of the pleasures of their first two releases would we really be able to enjoy? If you're looking for the serious "concept" of Sam's Town, you're likely to be disappointed by the flimsy cardboard construct of the album (especially coupled with front man Brandon Flower's pre-release boasting that it's one of the best albums ever made), but you'd surely be missing out on the pleasure of songs like "When You Were Young" or "Read My Mind," two singles that have held up remarkably well.

To really assess the Killers, one has to gauge how the band fares on their third release. Their debut, Hot Fuss, was a smash hit, and Sam's Town transcended critical indifference and manage to sell a couple million copies anyhow. So how will Day & Age sound; will it be it be the sound of a band being crushed by their ambitions (which certainly seem to supersede their actual capabilities), or will we hear a band playing to its strengths?

The answer, which will delight both true believers and those of us that simply view the Killers as a singles band rife with guilty pleasures, is… sort of… well, both. The horns and bombast of Day & Age's opener "Losing Touch" signal the sounds of a band increasingly confident with taking new directions. It's not that it would sound out of place on their previous releases, just that it has a freshness that seems to affirm the necessity of a new album. Where some of the true superstar bands - and yes, let's all admit that the Killers really have reached that plane - seem to proffer releases every once in a while as much to justify a big Clear-Channel sponsored tour (ahem, Nickelback) as to break new ground, The Killers at least seem to believe they're really forging bravely ahead; whether they are or not, it's refreshing to hear a mainstream, household-name sort of band giving it their all.

After the horn section heralding a new chapter in the Book of Flowers, the band immediately scales it back on lead single "Human," which comes across as a sort of puree of their previous flavors. It has the ambient backing track ("Read My Mind"), danceable club-ness ("Somebody Told Me," "Mr Brightside") and the convoluted lyrics ("When You Were Young," "Bones," "All These Things I've Done") that seem to benefit a band favored by people not known for paying attention (and that Flowers seems to be overly able to sell). It works as a sing-along, but if you think about it too much the track quickly devolves into annoyingness.

Not to sound like I have it in for the guy, but Day & Age really does benefit from hiding Flowers in the mix. "Joy Ride" has a great tribal/80s funk feel, in turns part Prince's Minneapolis funk and New Order's processed synthetics, and the song has enough going on that Flowers settles in as part of the collective din. He certainly has his moments; "Dustland Fairytale" immediately follows "Joy Ride" with a piano ballad intro that leads into a regrettable and someone bombastic attempt at Dylan-esque irreverence ("I saw Cinderella in a party dress/ She was looking for a night-gown/ I saw the Devil wrapping up his hand/ He's getting ready for the showdown"), but the song's melody carriers it past its flaws.

Day & Age more or less continues in this vein for its duration. Flaws abound for those looking for them (and some will be looking), but it helps to tune out Flowers shooting off his mouth and take a moment to appreciate the Killers for what they are: a stellar singles band. When Hot Fuss came out, The Killers name was never more than a sentence away from an Interpol comparison, but whereas Paul Banks and company have begun to decline under their own seriousness and uniformity, The Killers continue to flower (pun intended); it seems where Interpol has the gravity of Joy Division, The Killers have a lot more New Order in them. Which is to say they're more fun, still capable of surprising their fans, and they really can write a spectacular single. Granted, if you're the type who can't find the pleasure in screaming along with "Mr Brightside" or "All These Things I've Done" on a Friday night out, you'll probably disagree with me, but in the grand scheme of things I think it's awesome to hear a band like the Killers on mainstream radio. Their singles have always been enjoyable, and the increasing diversity and confidence exhibited on Day & Age could hint that it might not be so far fetched to expect great albums from the Killers in the future. For now, enjoy the simple pleasures, and try not to take the band as seriously as Flowers wants you too. You'll miss out on all the fun.

Reviewed by Cory Tendering
No biographical information is currently available.

See other reviews by Cory Tendering

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