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Music Review

The Killers: 'Day & Age'

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The Killers: 'Day & Age'
Released on Monday, Nov 24 2008

"People say I am a drama queen, a careerist and have a big ego," said Brandon Flowers recently. "They're trying to get something exciting out of something and someone who is just very boring." Boring? Surely there's been some kind of mistake! Flowers, a man who can get away with donning a shiny golden suit for a Glastonbury headline slot, is that rare kind of popstar who gets you giddy with excitement over the very clothes he pops on that morning. So why is the dashing Killers frontman playing down his flamboyance?

Perhaps it's because the band's third studio album is their most diverse and unashamedly commercial record to date. It's also more than a little bizarre. While Coldplay pretend to be all modest and humble and Johnny Borrell gobs off about how he's better than Dylan, The Killers have busied themselves producing a comeback disc that will shatter the consensus that they turned into a group of pompous chin-strokers on their grizzled 2006 effort Sam's Town.

Lead single 'Human' acts as an opening riposte to critics of their second disc. Featuring Pet Shop Boys-style beats and hushed preaching from Flowers, the influence of Stuart Price (Madonna, Keane) on knob-twiddling duties shines brightly. Day And Age isn't the dance-pop album that many suspected the group would make with Price; nor is it a return to the synth-heavy sound of their 2004 debut, Hot Fuss. In fact, attempting to pigeonhole Day & Age is like trying to pin down a snake covered in Utterly Butterly - nigh on impossible.

Opener 'Losing Touch' finds the group cribbing from Robert Palmer's 'Addicted to Love' and borrowing David Bowie's '80s brass section, while 'Spaceman' is an exuberant mix of keys and drums on which Flowers regales a tale of alien abduction. Sometimes the band's experimentation gets the better of them, especially on the tropicalia of 'I Can't Say', but mostly the band actually pull off their dabbling in unfashionable musical waters. You can't help but smile during the samba-infused 'Joy Ride' - even though Flowers ends the song with hushed "chica-chica" vocals that create an amusing image of the band shaking their maracas together in the recording studio.

'A Dustland Fairytale' and album closer 'Goodnight, Travel Well' are the only attempts to fashion widescreen anthems here. They don't really gel with the Roxy Music/Bowie influenced-pop on the rest of the disc, but they're better stabs at Springsteen-style rock than much of Sam's Town. Whether they're an indication of the Killers' future plans remains to be seen, but we can take solace in the fact that, at this moment, Flowers and co. are anything but boring.

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