No one knows the pressure of early acclaim quite like The Killers. After their glam-pop release, “Hot Fuss,” in 2004, The Killers succumbed to the siren song of their own success. Frontman Brandon Flower’s bewilderingly premature statement that they’d be the next U2 did nothing to ease The Killers uphill battle against their own accomplishments.
With The Killers’ 2006 sophomore album “Sam’s Town,” Flowers tried to do more than churn out track after track of indie-pop toe-tappers. Sadly, the album played out like an epic tale afflicted with frequent bouts of amnesia — it certainly had a story to tell, but stumbled over the plot a bit too frequently. While the grandiose storytelling bogged down the album, it also served a purpose. If nothing else, “Sam’s Town” proved that The Killers would not reuse the “Hot Fuss” formula.
Needless to say, the stakes were high for The Killers’s latest release, and yet, for all their presumptions, they were able to pull it off with “Day and Age.” Though the Bowie undertones are almost palpable, the opening track, “Losing Touch,” superbly starts the album off with stirring saxophones and a shooting guitar lead. “Tell your friends I’m losing touch,” Flowers confesses in what seems like a refreshing attempt at humility.
The Killers strive to breathe new life into their musical repertoire by introducing new sounds and instruments into the album. Though the tribal chants in “This Is Your Life” are jarring at times, the nod to world music energizes the album with a jolt of eccentricity. These diverse sounds culminate in “I Can’t Stay,” a jumbled but oddly intoxicating concoction of acoustic guitar, saxophone and harp, all flowing together with an undercurrent Caribbean beat.
Much like the style of U2, The Killers close the curtains on the album with “Goodnight, Travel Well,” a seven-minute exploration of a melodious, albeit melancholy, dreamland. The forlorn Flowers sings “The universe is standing still / and there’s nothing we can do now.”
“Day and Age” delivers the sound that hooked fans back in 2004 while still broadening the band’s musical horizons. With this latest endeavor, The Killers depart from the glitter-glam image of the past and take a stalwart step out of their own shadow.