In no universe do mohawks and waistcoats go together. But The Killers continue to churn out throbbing, synth-laden floor-filler that’s equal parts Roxy Music and A Night at the Roxy. Disjunctive is right.
The Las Vegas quartet’s new album, Day & Age, is mainly just a series of small experiments in melding New Wave and Britpop, most of which end badly.
One of the few bright spots is, oddly enough, the leadoff track, “Human,” in which spurts of tribal drumming are layered beneath atmospheric keys and enough gaiety to set the Manhattan skyline afire.
The rest is sonic glitter. “Joy Ride” is a smooove jazz number that allows frontman Brandon Flowers to stumble through a wrongheaded interpretation of Lou Reed impersonating David Bowie impersonating Bryan Ferry – he’s as sexy as none of the above but certainly slick enough to fool listeners raised on Pink and the Black Eyed Peas. “This Is Your Life” is an arena-rock singalong out of the Book of Coldplay – the chanting chorus of hundreds is no doubt intended to get Bic lighters in the air.
Whether by way of the flash of their hometown, their youthful snobbery, or their impressive record collection (that stops at around 1985), The Killers have concocted 2008’s stuck-up album of the year, full of pomp and circumstance that serves only to cover up the players’ marginal skills, built more on cobbling influences together than doing something original. Seems that even Flowers and company have their suspicions. In the album’s swansong, “Good Night, Travel Well,” the band asks, “How long will this flash in the pan last?”