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The Killers - Sawdust

The Killers, Sawdust

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

LAS Vegas indie rock quartet The Killers release Sawdust, a compilation of tracks from soundtracks and single releases, as well as previously unreleased material from the Sam’s Town and Hot Fuss sessions that boasts plenty of gems for completists.

Kicking off with lead single Tranquilize, the album – which is dedicated to fans – effectively demonstrates the diversity and general quality of Brandon Flowers, Dave Keuning, Mark Stoermer and Ronnie Vannucci.

It’s a personal compilation that serves as a sobering alternative to the wealth of greatest hits LPs that flood record shelves this time of year – and which, crucially, is capable of appeal to fans and non-fans alike.

Tranquilize, for instance, is a truly great record and a fine way to start the album. The track first made an appearance during sessions for Sam’s Town but was picked up again this summer during a break in the band’s touring schedule.

They subsequently approached former Velvet Underground leader Lou Reed for vocal duties and proceeded to deliver a strikingly moody effort that finds Flowers and Reed working in mesmerising vocal tandem, complete with some intricate instrumental layering and a slow-build mentality that succeeds in building to a terrific crescendo.

It’s followed by their cover version of Joy Division’s Shadowplay, which is lively and a genuinely interesting take on the classic, and then All The Pretty Faces, which begins with a thrusting central guitar riff that gives way into a rousing, impassioned song in its own right.

There’s a playful sense of fun surrounding Leave The Bourbon On The Shelf that’s raw, ragged and totally inspiring – a lovelorn tale of love, loss and alcoholism. It was recorded in Dave’s Apartment and is one of the album highlights.

Elsewhere, Flowers’ wraps some haunted vocals around Where The White Boys Dance that also includes some melancholy piano chords; there’s a ramshackle, rollicking quality surrounding Glamorous Indie Rock And Roll and a feelgood vibe surrounding Who Let You Go?.

I also liked the old-school, Johnny Cash/country vibe surrounding Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town and the beautiful Abbey Road Session version of Sam’s Town (recorded in 2006). It gives way to another gem of a cover version, their moody take on Dire Straits’ classic Romeo & Juliet, that’s beautifully delivered.

The Killers have never been a band to do things the obvious way and that’s evident from the selections on this album. It’s part of what helps to make it such a wonderful addition to any fans’ collection.

Download picks: Tranquilize, Shadowplay, Leave The Bourbon On The Shelf, Where The White Boys Dance, Glamorous Indie Rock And Roll, Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town, Sam’s Town, Romeo & Juliet

Track listing:

  1. Tranquilize
  2. Shadowplay
  3. All The Pretty Faces
  4. Leave The Bourbon On The Shelf
  5. Sweet Talk
  6. Under The Gun
  7. Where The White Boys Dance
  8. Show You How
  9. Move Away
  10. Glamorous Indie Rock And Roll
  11. Who Let You Go?
  12. The Ballad Of Michael Valentine
  13. Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town
  14. Daddy’s Eyes
  15. Sam’s Town [Abbey Road Version]
  16. Romeo And Juliet
  17. Change Your Mind
  18. Mr. Brightside [Jacques Lu Cont’s Thin White Duke Remix]

  1. My only problem with the album was that they released a compilation of B-Sides after only two albums. I would have thought they’d wait a little longer to release something like that. I also disliked the fact that they had “Glamorous Indie Rock and Roll” which was on the first album and “Where the White Boys Dance” which was featured in Sam’s Town. They already had 16 tracks without adding those songs, so I thought it was unnecessary putting in songs which have been heard before. Especially when “... Indie Rock and Roll” is already a song so many people people have heard and have liked from their first album. I’m a huge fan of theirs so in addition, I think they should avoid alterations to Mr Brightside, which is already a fantastic song. A great selection of songs otherwise, well put together, with both “Tranquilize” and “Leave the Bourbon on the Shelf” being standouts.

    Pat    Dec 5    #