It's no secret that The Killers have changed their sound dramatically since the seminal days of 'Mr. Brightside' a decade ago, and now you have the chance to hear that transformation (in an appropriately chronological order) before your very. ermm. ears, with the release of their new compilation album 'Direct Hits'.
In the run-up to the album release, they unveiled a brand new track entitled 'Shot At The Night' which serves as one of two never-before-released songs on the tracklist. The question is, does this new brand of mature, synth-infused power pop work for the formerly very indie rockers?
Produced by M83's Anthony Gonzalez, 'Shot At The Night' is naturally a synth-laden epic with plucky guitars and soaring vocal echoes. On opening, there's a strong reminder of how much has changed for the band over the years - and especially since releasing fourth album 'Battle Born' last year following their two year hiatus. The vibe generally seems to be a lot more serious than previous material and 'Shot At The Night' is no exception; they maintain their characteristic build-up from beginning to end, starting out quiet with a sense of melancholic desperation and ending with a strong, dynamic climax. It's what makes The Killers so anthemic and enjoyable to listen to but this time, coupled with generic subject matter and boring lyrics, it doesn't feel as aurally interesting. On the other hand, the chorus is super catchy, though I can't help feeling like they are sort of turning into 'boyband' material. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's not something you'd expect.
The Killers really did used to be the 'Killers' of the pop charts, with their strong rock elements, often humorous lyrics and Brandon Flowers' unique, gritty vocals - but it's easy to think that they may have grown up a bit too much of late. As for whether or not this new sound works for them, I would say it does - if you like pleasant synth tones and powerful choruses, this is a great track. But if you don't, 'Shot At The Night' isn't going to change your mind.