For the casual listener, The Killers have disappeared and died a quiet death after 2004. As a loyal fan, I would urge people that this is as false as a flower in North Korea.
For fans and non-fans alike, the immortal melody Mr. Brightside still rings through our heads and earphones, soothing hearts and shakin a** since its overly-quoted-in-MySpace-bios heyday.
The Killers fulfill a quaint niche that is easy to overlook these days, which is further exemplified with the release of their latest album, aptly titled Wonderful Wonderful.
Long gone are the old days for this band with searing guitar licks, catchy lyrics and stadium-filling anthems. Now, The Killers tap into a gentle 80s atmosphere that hits its target (most of the time) with introspective lullabies, echoed vocals and the odd auto-tune every now and again.
Opening with eponymous track, Wonderful Wonderful is an unlikely first taste for a band known for their Springsteen-esque hooks. Tapping into a haunting melody reminiscent of even the most experimental David Bowie phase, the tracks thines and thous set the tone for a darker Killers.
It follows with what is arguably the best track on the album, The Man, a track that calls on the best of The Bee Gees and injects a little danger. With a baseline to haunt your dreams, The Man highlights the best (and worst) parts of bravado and conceit, turning an otherwise straightforward song into an ironic, tongue-in-cheek funk fest.
From this point on, several songs begin to muddle into sounding the same. Run for Cover, perhaps the albums weakest track, is the most reminiscent of older Killers sounds and this is perhaps its weakness. It comes off as a zombified attempt at recapturing a sound they have long since evolved from.
Two tracks, entitled Rut and Tyson vs. Douglas, stand out as wonderfully 80s, scrappy, indie sounds, with electronic influences chemically reacting with vulnerability in a mix only The Killers have been known to capture.
At this point, we have the outlying and forgettable track here and there, until the closing track, a quietly desperate and latently hopeful Have All the Songs Been Written? This is the most idiosyncratic song The Killers have written, and it is a track rife with the conflict between uncertainty and optimism, making it a fitting close to perhaps the heaviest Killers album ever released.
While the album does not reach the heights of 2006s Sams Town, it is perhaps the closest theyve come in a career where quality has been a struggle, especially in recent years. With 2012s Battle Born, The Killers saw a steep decline in critical reception, shaking the faith of many fans.
It is safe to say Wonderful Wonderful revives much of what has been absent in The Killers music, even though a lot of their magic remains lost in the ages. For the non-Killers fan, it might just be a semi-pleasant surprise that theyre still around doing their thing whatever that may be.
For The Killers diehard, Wonderful Wonderful will be an enjoyable, although not entirely fulfilling, experience with genuinely good tunes to keep some meat on its bones. The album is a solid mesh of new sounds with a more experimental touch, and for anyone looking for an escapism only The Killers can provide, this album will surely satisfy your craving.