The Killers explore, expand glitzy roots on new disc

Like their hometown of Las Vegas, The Killers have a knack for anything flashy, sudden and over the top.

With their quadruple platinum debut “Hot Fuss” and massively ambitious second album “Sam’s Town,” the band’s recently released third disc, “Day & Age,” expands upon their sound by taking creative risks with Caribbean drums and hints of disco.

While “Hot Fuss” sparked with youthful energy and “Sam’s Town” was suggestive of a teenage rebel, “Day & Age” pulses with a vibe that resembles both discs combined.

If “Fuss” and “Sam” had a baby, this would be it.

When the first single “Human” hit the airwaves in late October, controversy flooded the Internet and blog wars were ignited as fans argued over the song’s chorus: “Are we human, or are we dancer?” (an allusion to a Hunter S. Thompson quote).

But even with nonsensical lyrics, as long as the rhythm flows, it works.

And for the record, it certainly does work.

“Goodnight, Travel Well,” written about guitarist Dave Kuening’s deceased mother, is the lone departure from the rest of the catchy, upbeat album.

“Stay, don’t leave me, the stars can wait for your sign, don’t signal now,” lead singer Brandon Flowers pleads, tugging at heart strings.

With eerie, desperate, emotional lyrics, there’s nothing Mr. Brightside about the song.

Although most of the musical risks here are successful, the foursome pushes it with the cheesy disco vibe of “Joy Ride.” While the sax solo is a good attempt, one could imagine the song played at a roller skating rink in the ’70s. The song is also full of references to Vegas, which could explain a large portion of its tackiness.

The tropical drums in “I Can’t Stay” are also a bit of a stretch.

Straying from the usual synth-driven rock, the percussion is an awkward touch, and the song overall is “less cool than a Sandals Resort sunburn,” to borrow a line from Flowers himself.

Still, “Day & Age” does show a more comfortable side of the Vegas foursome as they explore and expand their glitzy roots.

Although the lyrics might not always make sense, the sentimentality and passion behind them do.

All told, Day & Age leaves us “smiling like we mean it.”

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