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The Killers - Day & Age
Though the manufacture is their own, The Killers' albums have always felt as much products as creative works. On Day & Age, their third long-player, this has never been more the case. Scale, and not depth, seems the order of the day.
In the knowledge that their second album was not as good as their first - yet did not dent their commercial appeal - Brandon Flowers and co have scoured the musical universe. Day & Age nods (and sometimes bows down) to its influences, not its predecessors.
Opener 'Losing Touch', is representative of the entire album. Saxophones evoke Bryan Ferry's 'Let's Stick Together' and the lead guitar soars as if played by The Edge. That their influences are so conspicuous will be an issue for purists, but for drive-time listeners it will likely work in the band's favour. Flowers is fortunate that his voice acts as such a distinguishing hallmark.
Lead single 'Human' has been criticised for its grammatically peculiar lyrics, such supposed controversy merely facilitating the band's expansion. The Killers' sophistication may be diluted by mainstream appeal but, like U2 before them, owning the limelight is clearly the band's prime concern.
'Spaceman' is pleasantly anthemic, 'Neon Tiger' is a refreshingly stripped down departure for the group, and 'The World We Live In' is positively melodramatic. Flowers deserves credit for the latter - his double-tracked vocal rises with enough passion to satisfy the most sceptical ears.
That The Killers have drawn such inspiration and assistance in making Day & Age is testament to their commercial enormity, but perhaps hinders their musical credentials. Alongside an extremely savvy producer in Stuart Price, the band have assembled a solid and interesting album.