I purchased the Killers debut album, Hot Fuss, after hearing three solid singles from them — “Somebody Told Me,” “Mr. Brightside,” and “All These Things That I’ve Done.” Each of these songs, as well as the rest of the record, had a unique edge with influence from the '80s. I quickly became a fan and eagerly looked forward to the release of their follow-up album, Sam’s Town.
Unfortunately, as is often the case with hot new bands, the second CD is somewhat of a disappointment. It is over early, after their lead-off single “When You Were Young,” which is the second song on the album. Out of forty-five minutes of music, about eleven minutes are enjoyable.
Lead singer Brandon Flowers' voice doesn't have a wide range. His strong suit has been the songwriting ability of the band, which has the knack of writing songs in which the vocal talent seems better than it actually is.
Guitar riffs have always been an enjoyable factor of this band, especially in “Mr. Brightside” and “All These Things That I’ve Done.” They caught the listener’s attention and got the song stuck in their head. Yet this CD uses a lot more synthesizer than their original release, giving it a bland, repetitive sound.
Yet with the letdown this CD brings, it also brings hope with songs such as their first single, “When You Were Young.” This song has a similar feel to “Somebody Told Me,” and unlike the rest of the CD, was instantly recognizable as The Killers. Like much of their music, it has an '80s feel, and on this song, Flowers’ vocals don’t fight the music like it does on more then one occasion throughout the rest of the CD.
My second favorite song on this album, “Read My Mind,” is one of the better displays of guitar work on the record. It also isn’t overpowering and it vocally complements the music.
“Sam’s Town” is one of the few shows of synthesizer that impresses me. It is also the only radical vocal work that ends well for The Killers. It also has a bit of neat guitar work near the center of the song.
In the end my high expectations for this CD were let down. It was also rather short at just under three quarters of an hour in twelve tracks. Overall the CD simply is too repetitive and is getting too close to a big band sound, which is not its trademark. You get the feeling that the CD was rushed in the making and had a lot of label influence, so it may not even be the band's fault it fell short.