:: Article

Sam’s Town

On the opener and title track of their new album, synths ebb and flow over the subdued prowl of the verses before Brandon Flowers weighs in with an electrifying hook that makes it clear The Killers are no one-disc wonder. Much has been made of their newfound obsession with Americana, and that influence can be found in the gleaming Springsteenian swayalong of ‘When You Were Young’, and indeed throughout the album. The lyrics are littered with references to highways, hurricanes, wild rivers and people named “Grandma Dixie”. But it’s all filtered through their irresistible disco switchboard; although this time the synths feel more organic, the rhythms less processed, and (thankfully for some) there’s nothing to compare with the club-slut kitsch of ‘Somebody Told Me’. But the songs are still just as memorable.

There’s the robotic love buzz of ‘For Reasons Unknown’, which sees Flowers emoting “my lips, they don’t kiss the way they used to anymore”, over washes of keyboard and guitar. Later on, the pendulous thrust of ‘Uncle Johnny”s riff saves it from the disgrace of its rhymes, and ‘My List’, practically turns your speakers into two giant waving lighters. ‘Bones’, shifts from twinkly stadium rock to lean cymbal-splashing poetry, until the unexpected, gleeful ambush of some kind of circus brass band. And back again.

It’s not a clone of the first, by any means — but if you got yourself in a hot fuss over their debut, Sam’s Town has rooms for everyone.

ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
Richard O’Brien was born in Peterborough in 1990, and has been trying to escape ever since. He is currently still trying to get an education, and resides in a Lincolnshire village with his parents and his labradors with nautical names. He likes to act, listen to music, and write songs that will never be sung.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Saturday, October 7th, 2006.