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The Killers fail to stop hearts with latest album

Nathan Hogan | Thursday, October 12, 2006

What’s more challenging than taking multiple tests and turning in a project during a stress-filled midterm week? Trying to create a second album that follows a very well received, three-times platinum debut offering would certainly fall into that category.

This is the task the Killers faced after the success of their 2004 release, “Hot Fuss.” Hailing from Las Vegas, the Killers made their mark on the industry with a unique blend of synthesizer, guitar, drums and distinct vocals from lead singer Brandon Flowers. Their latest release, “Sam’s Town,” attempts to continue their success.

The opening title track, “Sam’s Town,” features the expected Killers sound – a mix of synthesizer and guitar colliding to form the driving beat and high-energy rock song. Flowers does not disappoint, as he again brings his personal flair to the tune’s melody.

Following the title track, the Killers decided to add a clever little piece entitled “Enterlude.” Together with the closing track, “Exitlude,” these tracks serve as handy bookends for the album.

Although these two tracks, especially “Enterlude,” could be dismissed as filler tracks, they are amusing in their own respect and enhance the overall flow of the album.

In doing so, “Enterlude” leads right into “When You Were Young.” The chorus and the main riff are noticeably repetitive, but the bridge and instrumental breakdown segments add to the value of the song. However, don’t expect this single to match the extended success of their previous singles, “Somebody Told Me” or “Mr. Brightside.”

With a punchy, yet melodic, instrumental line and quality verses, the track “Read My Mind” well deserves playtime. It draws from the elements that made “Hot Fuss” such a success, with an intensity that grows as the song progresses, from subtle guitar to “rock out” mode and back again.

“Uncle Jonny,” with its heavy repeating guitar riff and drums, highlights the Killers’ roots in 80s rock, while fusing it with lyrical components reminiscent of David Bowie. The ending features a choral segment similar to “All These Things I’ve Done,” except abbreviated and lacking the level of crescendo.

The second single to be released from the album is “Bones.” The music video was directed by Tim Burton, and will feature references to his movies. The song itself is upbeat and somewhat quirky, with a blaring synthetic horn section.

It fails to stand out as single-worthy, but a music video by Tim Burton can make any song instantly better.

Given the success of their first album, this offering is not a failure. It has enough notable tracks to make it worthy of purchasing.

The most interesting and appealing tracks are definitely not the singles in this case, as “Read My Mind” and “Uncle Jonny” offer much more musically.

The Killers’ catchy and zany lyrics added to the enjoyment and success of “Hot Fuss.” Their latest release fails to match the same level of lyricism, and this detracts from the overall value of the CD. The signature tracks lack the same level of punch found in the first album.

Overall, this release is relatively safe – aimed more at perpetuating the basic Killers sound of the first album.

Fans will enjoy the CD based on the Killers’ brand of music alone, but newcomers would be much better off getting the original album.