The Killers had the task of following up the success of their neo-new wave hits "Mr. Brightside" and "Somebody Told Me" on the Las Vegas group's sophomore effort.
To say Sam's Town is virtually indistinguishable from Hot Fuss is the least of it. The record shows little change in the group's formula. Personally, Hot Fuzz didn't blow my hair back, so more of the same is even discouraging.
When they dial it in, The Killers do what they do well. They make catchy singles, so making "Read My Mind" cut from the same bombastic arena rock as "Brightside" and "Somebody," awash in synthesizers before its triumphant chorus, is a smart move.
However, elsewhere, though, their decisions are confusing. "Enterlude" and "Exitlude" don't add much while songs such as "Uncle Johnny" seem formulated to bring cheering arena crowds to their feet on a platter of style and little substance.
The Killers draw from their new waves inspirations as well as U2, Bruce Springsteen and Queen, but wind up with a record that sounds less like homage and more like imitation.
Tomorrow's entry: The Hold Steady, Separation Sunday