The Killers Play What They Want

noah | November 19, 2008 12:00 pm

ARTIST: The KillersTITLE: Day & AgeRELEASE DATE: Nov. 24, 2008WEB DEBUT: Nov. 19, 2008

ONE-LISTEN VERDICT: The third album by Brandon Flowers’ band of merrymen sounds like it was heavily influenced by sitting in a lot of traffic jams with a radio station tuned to Jack-FM, or whatever radio station in Las Vegas Plays What It Wants To: Album opener “Losing Touch” begins with frosty keyboards that could have been lifted from Icehouse track, and they give to a “Roll With It”-style bleating of synchronized horns. Slavish devotion to the music of two decades ago is nothing new for the Killers, but Day & Age brings a new coherence to their retro stylings. Day & Age has a lot of pop gems that’ll probably sound even better when plucked from the context of the album and thrown into the mix of drive-time radio; the chugging “Spaceman,” the feather-light “I Can’t Stay” (which, like many tracks on here, has just enough brass to intensify the feeling of being back in the era where sax solos trumped those played on guitars). The one real misstep is the overblown, overlong finale “Goodnight, Travel Well”–you can probably figure out its many problems just by looking at that title–but otherwise, Day & Age is a nice little package of pastiche.

THE BEST TRACK: The freakishly danceable “Joy Ride,” with its skronky sax and thumping bassline, is equal parts early-’80s New Wave and early-’00s Franz Ferdinand, but the true standout is “The World We Live In,” in which Flowers tries to channel Hall & Oates’ melodic stylings. Sure, his voice may be challenged–especially compared to Philly’s favorite blue-eyed soulsters–but his deft-enough navigation of their vocal melodies hits enough sweet spots for the song to be completely satisfying.