Where did Duran Duran and David Bowie go? The Killers seem to have found some new influence for their sophomore album, Sam’s Town, and it doesn’t work. “It’s not so bad, it’s not so bad,” Flowers begs in “Bling (Confession of a King)” with his American accent. Oh Brandon. It’s not awful, but it’s pretty grotesque.
What made Hot Fuss so successful was the synth filled 80′s-esque glam, which The Killers have traded in for Bob Dylan. The band seems to have taken what worked tactfully well in Hot Fuss, like catchy bass rifts and choruses, and injected it into their new sound. Unfortunately, little signatures do not make an album.
Sam’s Town is not all lost; it does hold a few singles, but it does take wading to get to them. “When You Were Young,” the third track on the album, sounds similar to “Mr. Brightside,” the smash single on Hot Fuss. The synths carry the snappy song, while Flowers belts, “He doesn’t look a thing like Jesus/But he talks like a gentleman/Like you imagined when you were young.”
“For Reasons Unknown” and “Bones” are also worth mentioning. “For Reasons Unknown” has a great buildup, but after hearing Flowers’ whine resonate throughout the song it becomes dull and irritating. “Bones,” however, is fun. The ska-ish horns give the punch that is lacking in the rest of the album. The song isn’t unlike “All These Things I’ve Done” in The Killers’ debut album.
In sum, nice try, but I believe that The Killers have a lot more talent that they could tap into. Hot Fuss worked; don’t fix what isn’t broken.
Recommended Songs: Bones, When You Were Young
Toss These Songs: Uncle Johnny, My List’, ‘The Killers: Sam’s Town