Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Song: Getaways
Artist: Big Talk
Album: Big Talk

I don't know what's happening with The Killers.  A band that seemingly was aiming to be the next U2 (actually, Coldplay is really going for that... maybe the next INXS?) went "on hiatus" after releasing their so-so third album "Day & Age," and lead Killer Brandon Flowers released a so-so solo record.  Often when a band with a flamboyant front man you identify only with that person, not realizing that the entire band writes the music... not one loud dude who needs constant attention.  But hey, The Killers wouldn't have become The Killers without Flowers over-the-top grandstanding. (and super catchy dance-rock.)

I've had the self-titled album (or "project") by Killers drummer Ronnie Vannucci, Jr. for about two weeks and have been enjoying it... even though I didn't realize it was the band of a former Killer.  In retrospect, it's got "Killers-esque" written all over it.  Big choruses, crunchy sweet guitar riffs, and synths in all the right places... it's also a little Springsteen biting, a little over the top, and... actually quite enjoyable.  I don't hear any "Mr. Brightside" or "When You Were Young" on here... but hey, I didn't hear any songs of that quality on "Flamingo" either.

The album, like Flowers' solo, comes with a lot of top-knotch collab talent.  Vannucci is first and foremost joined by old friend and old bandmate Taylor Milne (Expert on October.)  The album is produced by Grammy winner Joe Chicarelli (The Strokes, My Morning Jacket) and was mixed by Alan Moulder (U2, The Killers, Foo Fighters.)  Former Weezer bassist Matt Sharp also plays on the album, along with Ted Sablay, who has toured with the Killers.

You'll know if you're going to get into Big Talk from the start... album opener "Katzenjammer" begins with a dramatic, very 80's atmospheric synth wash, only to bubble with electronics and then BAM!... guitars.  I hear Foo Fighters, Tom Petty, Pete Yorn, and of course Killers... you name it.  It's a rocking guitar jam that would fit perfectly into a wild night at a little bar.  Lead single "Getaways" follows, again reaching for the 80's rock jugular and sounding a LOT like The Cars.  It's good though.

The Big Talk "project" (as it's been called... not a solo record, not a new band, not stepping on The Killers at all...) is to these ears, a continuation of The Killers sound and if noting else, a reminder that Brandon Flowers wasn't the only one in the band, and that Vannucci is a force to be reckoned with on his own.  I don't know if I hear a track, say like "Mr. Brightside" here, that could give the band a solid radio hit, but the more I listen, the more I like.  The hooks and riffs are there, but seem to be a little more subtle... vs. how The Killers clobber you over the head with them.

But honestly... if you're looking for a solid pop rock album, you should check this one out.



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