Beneath their thin veneer of synth-pop revival, The Killers have always been a band of musical subtleties. But it wasn’t hard to question the band’s future following the 2007 release of the too-samey Sam’s Town. Talent goes to waste without a sense of adventure.
All apprehension vanished with the November release of Day & Age. The Killers have found a perfect middle ground, foregoing a complete overhaul of their dance beat base and instead embracing that ear for subtlety. It’s a sensible maturation from their freshman album, Hot Fuss, and a notable improvement on the missteps of Sam’s Town.
Start with “Losing Touch”—the old Killers with the added edge of brass. Move on to “Human,” a soon-to-be dance club standard like “Somebody Told Me” but with more emotion dripping from the lyrics. Brandon Flowers does the same tango with his vocal chords, just with a splash of piano or sax, both sadly missing from Hot Fuss.
Occasionally Day & Age chooses to boast about its venturesome side. Mark Stoermer plays down the frets on “Joy Ride” like an Olympic gymnast on monkey bars, making leaps only a pro would recognize. And “I Can’t Stay” will leave you asking when harp and steel drum factored into The Killers’ plans. (Alex Sakariassen)