The Killers – Day and Age (24 Nov – Mercury) 7/10
I’m probably not the best person to review this album. To me, everything about the eighties was rotten. Thatcher, flares, Michael Jackson, new wave, Chernobyl, John Lennon was shot dead, Thatcher, disco, Trivial Pursuit (I’m awful at it), MTV, Thatcher, Madonna, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Ian Curtis killed himself, and, er, Thatcher.
So it surprised me when the eighties revival gathered pace this year, and, shock horror, wasn’t totally shit. Mystery Jets went all normal and synth-tinged, and created an excellent album in 21. MGMT, though not a band I rate, captured the hearts of NME-readers across the globe by wearing silly trousers and recycling music from twenty-odd years ago. We Are Scientists went all eighties-inspired too, not that anyone noticed.
After a couple of listens of Day and Age it becomes clear what decade the Killers have been listening to music from. Indeed, Joy Ride is basically Madonna’s Like a Prayer with different words, but it doesn’t stop it from being toe-tappingly addictive.
Human, despite the atrocity that is the lyric ‘Are we human or are we dancer’ is still one of their finest dancefloor-slaying creations, despite the mega-hits that were Mr Brightside, All These Things and When We Were Young. Spaceman is likely to be another massive hit.
Although Sawdust was a collection of b-sides and rarities rather than a proper album, Day and Age feels much more like a follow-up to that collection than Sam’s Town, their last studio album. The mid-section of the album could have slotted straight into Sawdust, which, you would think would represent a lack of a move forward, but is actually the most sensible decision the Las Vegas Mormons could have made.
See, while Hot Fuss was way too sickly pop to take seriously, and Sam’s Town far too influenced by Springsteen to properly enjoy, Day and Age feels like the work of a band that (cliché alert) finally feel comfortable in their own skin.
A throbbing baseline gives in to a calypso feel on album standout I Can’t Stay, which oddly enough, sounds like it would be more at home in the fields of Avalon at Glastonbury than the uber chart-botherers from their first two albums did when they headlined the festival last year.
It’s still very derivative, but the influences are now buried at least slightly below the surface for the most part. And try as you may to hate them, the melodies that the Killers write will wriggle under your skin, lay eggs, and refuse to shift.
It may not be a classic, but it’s another step in the right direction on their path to U2-style hugeness.
[This review was originally published on The Music Magazine]