The Killers



by Burning_October USER (9 Reviews)
March 8th, 2009 | 13 replies

Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A look into the more experimental side of The Killers.

B-sides fascinate me. At their best, they can provide an interesting look into the more experimental side of a band, and provide some fun material to go through during breaks between albums. These tracks are, however, usually reserved solely for the hardcore fanbase. They are rarely accessible to the casual fans, and they can be hard to track down, so most never get a chance to hear them. Sometimes, however, a band will be so confident in their rare tracks that they’ll put them out for the whole public to hear. That’s exactly what The Killers did with Sawdust.

A collection of b-sides and rarities, the 17 songs on Sawdust (a surprisingly vast number for a band only two albums into their career) represent some of the Killers strangest music yet. Spinning through Beach Boys-esque vocal harmonies (“The Ballad Of Michael Valentine”), straight up dark rock (“Tranquilize”, the sole new song on this album), and menacing techno (highlight “All The Pretty Faces”), The Killers show here that they have far more range then previously thought. The most surprising thing about Sawdust, though, is that it may actually draw new fans into the band.

Somehow, the songs here seem to have hit a middle-point between Hot Fuss’ glammed up synth-pop and Sam’s Town’s arena rock pomposity, and it works. Lacking the overly clean production of the latter and the pretentious lyrics of the former, Sawdust, at its best, is full on synth-rock bliss.

Fortunately, Sawdust is at its best roughly 90% of the time. Songs like the aforementioned “All The Pretty Faces” and the long-lost conclusion to Hot Fuss’ “murder trilogy”, “Leave The Bourbon On The Shelf”, are surprisingly dark tracks, with menacing synth’s and some great, theatrical vocal performances. “Move Away” is one of the best songs that the band have written, reducing their sound to a simple guitar/bass/drum/vocal rock out that retains the catchiness of Hot Fuss’ best tracks. “The Ballad Of Michael Valentine” provides a look into the bands more experimental side, with an opening of sparse, fluttering guitars and soft “ohh-ohh” backing vocals that builds into a great little rocker with a nice country twang.

The albums best moment, however, comes in “Sweet Talk”, a Sam’s Town outtake that ranks among The Killers best songs. Starting with a warm little keyboard line, the song breaks into a techno synth riff and a rather danceable drum line, before launching into one of the most epic chorus’s that the band have recorded yet. The best part comes in the bridge, as Brandon lets his vocal range show, reaching into some nice falsetto notes before a dense wall of sound breaks out around him, launching us into one last repeat of the soaring chorus. It’s one of the, for lack of a better word, coolest moments that The Killers have put to tape thus far.

Unfortunately, not all of Sawdust stands up to these heights. The Mr. Brightside Remix takes the bands breakout hit and turns it into a rather plodding 8 minute dance track, and the Abbey Road version of “Sam’s Town” robs that song of all of its fantastic energy. Lastly, “Who Let You Go?”, though moderately catchy, is far too repetitive for its own good.

Overall, though, the ratio of great songs to bad is staggeringly good for such a long album, and one consisting of outtakes no less. For any Killers fan, Sawdust is a must buy, and even if you haven’t enjoyed the bands previous work, this may just change your mind.

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user ratings (388)

Comments:Add a Comment 
March 8th 2009


Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll is just what the title hints on, a damn good song... I also further enjoyed Where The White Boys Dance and Tranquillize

Good review too

March 8th 2009


ironically I just watched the Killers discography today and saw that this did not have a review and though "like whoa, why". And now, a couple of hours later this shows up, cool.
Review was pretty good.

March 9th 2009


Album Rating: 2.0

pretty good review, though i don't really agree. that said, i haven't listened to this that much, so maybe it'll grow on me.

December 24th 2009


Album Rating: 4.0

this review is so incredibly spot-on, excellent excellent job

December 24th 2009


Album Rating: 3.0

Tranquilize is awesome. Rest of the album is okay.

May 16th 2010


Album Rating: 2.5

"The masterplan" it isn't

decent tho.

Staff Reviewer
September 1st 2010


Album Rating: 2.5

Let’s be honest, the first 2 albums by The Killers predominantly relied on their singles… Depth was not a strength, especially on their debut. So a collection of B-Sides, rarities & covers was never going to be a consistent or quality listen… Especially when it’s stretched out to 70 odd minutes! Sure, it’s interesting in places, but it is extremely hit & miss, and hardly demands repeat listening. Recommended Tracks: All The Pretty Faces, Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll and Under The Gun.

July 13th 2011


Album Rating: 2.5

How the fuck is Sweet Talk not one of their best

September 28th 2011


Their cover of Joy Division's "Shadowplay" is insanely good. Like, way better than the rest of their entire discography easily (The Killers, not JD). They managed to make Joy Division danceable. That's pretty impressive.

Too bad this band fell off the face of the planet, they had some bright moments like that scattered through out their first two albums.

Storm In A Teacup
November 3rd 2016


holy shit I need to listen to this!!!!!!!

November 5th 2016


Album Rating: 4.0

yeah you do this has some choons

Digging: Circa Survive - The Amulet

August 1st 2017


Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah this is great

August 1st 2017


Last great album from them.

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