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Friday, September 29, 2006

The Killers - Sam’s Town
Release Date: October 3, 2006
Label: Island

Welcome to Sam’s Town, a place of broken dreams, rugged landscapes, and huge rolling choruses. The Killers’ new album is murkier than their last, which means it’s a grower. Gone are the gleaming synth lines and angular guitar, replaced instead by a generous helping of pomp and stadium-friendly rock.

The potential of this formula doesn’t really reveal itself until three tracks in, with the glorious first single When You Were Young. From there the album propels into the anthematic splendor that lead singer Brandon Flowers has decreed in so very many interviews. The ridiculously titled Bling (Confessions Of A King) is another early-album highlight, sounding like a mix between U2, Duran Duran and Deep Forest. It’s dance-rock at its best. Second single Bones is also interesting. Of all the songs, it takes advantage of the Killers’ new barrage of sounds most completely. A brass section here, a choir there. Other songs seek to build on the band’s earlier work, with varying success. Why Do I Keep Counting? revisits the much-loved “I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier” section from All These Things That I’ve Done and builds a whole song out of that sound. It’s one of the most epic things the Killers have produced thus far. On the flipside, Uncle Johnny is simply Andy, You’re A Star without the provocative androgyny.

Sam’s Town may not end up matching the runaway success of Hot Fuss, but it is at least as good as that record… in different ways, of course. Hot Fuss was made for the dance floor, for dark corners in secret places. Sam’s Town is the complete opposite, at home on open roads, mountain tops, and standing in front of thousands and thousands of screaming fans. A-

Key Tracks: When You Were Young, Bling (Confessions Of A King), Bones


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