A crossroad often comes in to the lifespan of a world-conquering rock band – of which The Killers are perhaps one of the last modern examples – where they either continue as a frozen-in-amber version of themselves, or veer off in a new direction entirely.
Now, nobody knows better than Brandon Flowers and his boys that they are unlikely to ever write a ‘Mr Brightside’, a ‘Somebody Told Me’ or even a ‘When You Were Young’ again – so they’ve not tried to.
Instead, the latest taster and titular track of upcoming album ‘Wonderful Wonderful’ seems a sign that the Vegas outfit know the route they’ll be taking won’t be the safer one.
With only a passing resemblance perhaps to the looser tracks on Sam’s Town, this new song really is quite unlike anything we’ve heard from them before – there’s no suspenseful build-up to the chorus, no call-back refrain, just a rather amorphous, almost proggy lurch from one part to the next, peppered with horns and a few offbeat glitchy elements.
For a band whom have always seemed to have a smart cut-and-finish quality to their output (particularly in their previous offering Battle Born), there’s no getting away from the fact it feels odd, and its ability to divide fan opinion will no doubt match up to earlier teaser single ‘The Man’, which was an equally marked departure in sound terms.
While no one’s going to chart this amongst their best material – besides, the ‘Best Of’ has already been done – props should be given to The Killers for continuing to push themselves into new places in the latter half of their second decade.
In other words, they may not be turning saints into the sea anymore, but they’ve been doing just fine.