[sic] Magazine

The Killers – Day & Age

Reviewed by: Jamie Milton

Backlashes sure can hurt and I feel that I’ve got to a point now where I can predict who’ll be the future victims of these nasty “surprises”. Write a big-selling, glorious-sounding debut album that makes the Earth shake and there’s not much else you can expect. Kings of Leon were similar victims of critical rudeness, albeit with ‘Only Be the Night’ being the worst of their four records, so perhaps it came at an appropriate time. But you could see the Killers backlash on the horizon from the moment ‘Hot Fuss’ faded away from popularity and people began to ask, “What’s next then?”. All credit to Brandon Flowers and co. for attempting to side away from the glam-pop sweetness that we all warmed to since their debut, but you have to pay a price for that sort of thing. And the backlash is due just about now. Everywhere I look, I see the word “disappointment” tagged next to any mention of ‘Day & Age’ from those who’ve heard it (probably on one occasion or less) and I just get this crazy feeling that people were licking their lips at the prospect of being let down.

Before we ask “is ‘Day & Age’ really that bad?” I’d question whether ‘Hot Fuss’ was really that good? It did seem to be the case that although the whole experience was one to treasure, some moments excelled more than others. And that’s been the case since The Killers started. So if you can love ‘Hot Fuss’ on the basis of its individual giants, you can do the same for ‘Sam’s Town’ and even ‘Day & Age’. This album suffers when it shies away from over-the-top pop anthems, Brandon Flowers’ ambitions for his band to succeed as arena-filling monsters have just about come true and you wouldn’t blame the guy if he just lazily chucked the towel in right now. But he’s gone and written ‘Spaceman’, ‘Human’ and ‘Neon Tiger’ – tracks that just about do justice to everything he’s written prior to this album.

The high-points aren’t exactly scattered all over the place though and so perhaps that’s why this dubious welcoming to ‘Day & Age’ has come about? As a whole album it does nothing for you. Best to just stick ‘Spaceman’ on repeat and call this whole damn thing a triumph. Now we’ve mentioned it, this gigantic gem is just so good it’s almost rude. Any compliments towards these anthemic waves of emotion and triumph would be considered an understatement by most of us. Think what you will of The Killers, it’s difficult to deem this effort as lacklustre. The delicate ‘Human’ comes before it, asking so many questions of all of us, and before that, another album highlight, ‘Losing Touch’ – a pensive, soothing number to ease you into things. By the end of ‘Spaceman’ you’re wondering where on Earth the album can go next and frankly it’s only downhill. So it’s best just to bask in the sun when it’s at its hottest.

Tunefully, the band have just about reached their peak. ‘This Is Your Life’, ‘The World We Live In’ and ‘Neon Tiger’ all lack in pace and authenticity but altogether the music makes up for it. Flowers has either stolen some of the best keyboard demos of all the time or he’s really worked out how to write the perfect tune. We’ll get tired of all this very soon and once that happens, there’s not anything ‘Day & Age’ can fall back on because when it comes to overall impact, it was wounded from the start.
Blame the backlash.