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Review

The Killers evolve, explore with ‘Day and Age’

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November 20, 2008

The Killers are back, gaudy, buoyant and brilliant as ever.

The new wave quartet burst loudly onto the music scene in 2004, achieving immediate success with their debut album, Hot Fuss, which overwhelmed audiences with an overdose of new romantic glitz. On their latest release, “Day & Age,” they acknowledge their roots while still managing to evolve and experiment at the same time. With the charts currently being polluted by atrocities such as Nickelback and Pink, it comes as a tremendous relief that The Killers return triumphantly with another excellent album.

The group’s sophomore release, the ambitious “Sam’s Town”, was received warmly, but also alienated many devoted fans who felt it contained less Bowie and more Springsteen. Gone is the thick, heartland American rock, replaced by more familiar glam pop extravagance.

Led by frontman Brandon Flowers, The Killers are back in full Las Vegas force-stylish and catchy as ever. The rippling synth hooks echo from start to finish, and Flowers’ slick falsetto ebbs and flows perfectly over the superb instrumentals. While not quite the burst of bright, unfiltered disco that characterized their debut, it strikes a comfortable medium between the band’s previous two studio records.

Day & Age kicks off fashionably with the opening track “Losing Touch,” which begins with the steady, vulnerable vocals of Flowers, followed by a wailing electric guitar exit. The first single, “Human,” is a trademark Killers dance-rock anthem, and will no doubt conjure up memories of “Mr. Brightside.” According to the band’s Web site, the lyrics were inspired by a disparaging comment made by Hunter S. Thompson about how America was raising a generation of dancers.

Another highlight is the fast-paced “Spaceman,” a song that describes the bandleader being abducted by aliens. “You know that I was hoping / That I could leave this star-crossed world behind / But when they cut me open / I guess I changed my mind,” sings Flowers. The up-tempo beat throbs from beginning to end. There are also signs that they are experimenting with new sounds, such as the track “I Can’t Stay,” which has a distinct Caribbean flavor mixed with soulful saxophone and steel drums-an interesting combination to be sure, but one that strangely works out.

There is hardly a weak point in the entire album-every note of Day & Age is pure Las Vegas spirit, bursting with life and vigor. To true Killers fans, nothing should sound more beautiful.

Andrew Phelps is an alumnus of UW-River Falls.