This is not an album which will instantly gratify, but after several listens the songs seem to unfold and become more 'accessible'.
Losing Touch: A good opening track. The infamous sax makes its first appearance, and blends well into the overall mood of the song. You may hear an echo of Roxy Music on this track. Ends with the only guitar solo on the album.
Human: Surely everyone has heard this by now - a fun, catchy, danceable track. I'm sure it would have reached no 1 on the singles chart, if there had been a CD release.
Spaceman: Another upbeat song with a catchy sing-along chorus. Alien abduction was never this much fun on the X Files! Set to be the second single.
Joy Ride: A sudden change of pace, very David Bowie Young Americans, but better (in my view). A great bass line; difficult to stand still when this is playing, and it has a lovely middle 8 section.
A Dustland Fairytale: A song about Brandon's parents, and a celebration of constancy in a relationship. Begins quietly but builds to a fairly anthemic finish - probably the most Sam's Town-esque track on this album.
This Is Your Life: An unusual sound to this song, tribal chanting and rhythmic drumming contrast well with the very clear vocals telling a story - but I'm not sure what it's about yet!
I Can't Stay: A very island feel to this one, with a shuffling beat and a sprinkling of steel drums. A fairly short, sweet song Brandon wrote about having to leave his family at home whilst touring. A good melodic vocal performance.
Neon Tiger: A song about Las Vegas. Fairly even-paced, plenty of synth. Still not sure about the 'Come on girls and boys...' line - but it sounds good live!
The World We Live In: I feel this is probably the weakest track - the verses are not too prominent in the song, so it doesn't seem to vary much from start to finish. Not unpleasant, but nothing very special.
Goodnight, Travel Well: A really difficult song to listen to. Not really a song at all, more like a requiem. This was written to mark the death of Dave's mother, and also for Brandon's mother who was very ill (happily now responding to treatment). Anyone who has experienced the death of someone dear to them will empathise with the feeling in this track. It has a cinematic feel, starting very slowly, almost dirge-like, but slowly building to a climax of intense anguish followed by a suggestion of release.
A Crippling Blow: Having this bonus track means that the album does not end quite so bleakly as it otherwise might. A slightly quirky song with a middle-Eastern feel to it, and a sudden change of mood at the end.
As a big Killers fan I love this album. If I have a criticism, it's that maybe they've tried to do too much within one record. That said, experimentation is a good thing if a band is to develop - there is no point in making the same album every time. When the songs are well-formed melodically, as these are, then the tunes are always there to underpin the sometimes unexpected instrumentation.
It's neither Hot Fuss nor Sam's Town, but something different again. Still The Killers though, and well worth your money if you are prepared to listen a few times and allow the songs the time they need to be appreciated.