Brandon Flowers’ bombastic nature could be swallowed a little more smoothly while listening to the band’s mega-hit “Hot Fuss,” which featured swift, glossy and melodic pop music deadset for radio and adoring, chanting fans (see: “Somebody Told Me,” “Mr. Brightside,” “Smile Like You Mean It,” “All These Things I’ve Done”). On “Sam’s Town,” the Las Vegas quartet does its best to recall Springsteen, an artist that Flowers has recently announced an affinity to, and though it would’ve served the band better to stick with what it was already doing so well, the record’s not a total disaster, but kind of close. The inclusion of “enterlude” and “exitude,” which bookend the record with the presumption that we were happy to be listening to it in the first place and happy to have listened to it at the end, is, well, something you could expect from Flowers, and the single “When You Were Young,” in all of its disjointed melody, is still the best song on the record (that “he doesn’t look a thing like Jesus” line is endlessly annoying, however). “Born to Run”-era Springsteen is both too solid and too singular to attempt to emulate, so you can’t blame The Killers for failing, but you can be pissed they tried in the first place. Live, expect the hits, and that’s what makes this show worth seeing. Because “Hot Fuss” is just better. (Tom Lynch)
October 17 at Congress Theater.