I'm going to keep this brief. There was something quite joyful about The Killers performance at 2005's Glastonbury. Togged up in a white tuxedo jacket with a hint of eyeliner and poised behind his glittery keyboard like some kind of glamorous preacher Brandon Flowers cut quite a figure and stirred up the crowds with rousing renditions of hits from Hot Fuss. Sam's Town was a little more po-faced, the Springsteen sound and moustaches making him look like a slightly less glamorous preacher. So it should be good news that their new album sees a return of the synth pop.
But it's all gone a bit 80's. Fine when it's inoffensively Roxy Music like opening track 'Losing Touch'. Worrying when it's Wham (amongst others) on 'Joy Ride', which even contains a sax solo. And it's just plain baffling when the backing vocals on 'This Is Your Life' remind you of the 'a-wimba-way' from Tight Fit's 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight'. It sounds in places ('I Can't Stay') like Brandon's finger slipped on the keyboard and changed the setting of a song suddenly to marimba or steel drums or perhaps they wanted to showcase the full range of settings available on the latest Bontempi. 'Goodnight, Travel Well' eschews the 80's in favour of trying to sound like Radiohead which is better but probably best left to the boys themselves.
Lyrically there's plenty to worry about too. He may be referencing Hunter S Thompson but 'Are we human, or are we dancer?' still sounds like he's singing from a lyric sheet with a typo. 'A Dustland Fairtytale' couldn't be more cliched with Cinderella and the Devil amongst 'castles in the sky' and 'moon river'. Elsewhere there's lots of grand sounding statements to fit the grand sounding songs which are sure to please festival crowds once more and radio listeners alike. Unfortunately it all sounds a little hollow to me. However if you've enjoyed the latest from Kings of Leon and Keane (ooh, bit of a K thing developing here) then jump on board and enjoy the (joy) ride.