It’s as if Brandon Flowers has stopped to smell his surname.
“The sky is full of dreams, but you don’t know how to fly,” The Killers frontman sings, his voice sprouting wings and heading straight for the sun. “I don’t have an answer, but I know that I can answer: There’s something better.”
The song is “This Is Your Life,” a radiant, solar-powered tune that warms the blood like a snifter of Wild Turkey.
It doesn’t sound like anything this band has done before, shimmying by on a bed of “oh-ey-oh” vocals, a funky, derriere-quaking beat and a touch of marching band drums while Flowers’ voice high-steps through the tune like it was traversing a mound of hot coals.
It’s one of several songs from The Killers’ forthcoming new disc, “Day & Age,” that adds a few new colors to this band’s bright-eyed palate.
“I Can’t Stay” throbs with near-calypso rhythms and punchy sax lines; the irrepressible and aptly titled “Joyride” adds a gaudy Hawaiian shirt to the band’s closet of designer duds, a tropical confection peppered with steel drums and more sprightly sax.
Three albums in, The Killers have yet to make a record that sounds all that much like one of its predecessors, and “Day & Age” sees the band refining the dusky, glamamericana that characterized much of their previous effort, 2006’s “Sam’s Town,” while further embellishing the sweat-soaked New Wave revisionism that marked their debut.
The band always has explored the miles of terrain between the wide open spaces of the Wild West, which Flowers is lyrically infatuated with, and the cramped confines of a packed dance floor, their tunes filled with hard luck girls and starry-eyed boys with dust in their throats and longing in their hearts.
But whereas “Sam’s Town” was largely a searching, disconsolate disc, “Day & Age” feels like Flowers has found a little bit more of what he’s looking for.
“I gotta believe it’s worth it,” he sings on the buoyant, cresting pop rock firecracker “The World We Live In,” while he sounds like a carnival barker, revelrous and restless, on the climactic “Neon Tiger.”
At times the album feels like one prolonged adrenaline rush, Red Bull in sonic form, such as on heart-pounding first single “Human,” a total arms-in-the-air raver with supersized, DayGlo synth lines, and the breathless “Spaceman,” which eyes the stratosphere with seismic bass lines and rolling thunder drums.
The only real moment of pause comes in the form of the disc’s brooding, seven-minute coda, “Goodnight, Travel Well,” a moonless-night-of-a-tune, haunting and unsettled, with tendrils of percussion and horns wafting through the song like cigar smoke.
“Everybody’s watching,” Flowers murmurs near album’s end, and with “Day & Age” so pivotal in this band’s career, he’s right.
But at least this bunch sends ’em all home with an eyeful.
Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at email@example.com or 702-383-0476.