The Killers emerged in 2004 with a more pop-friendly version of the post-punk revival sound of Franz Ferdinand, the Rapture, et al., and their combination of arena-sized guitar-pop, candy-colored dance-rock, and Robert Smithian vocals (de rigueur for their peer group) made them stars. Three albums down the line, they prove to be more than a flash in the pan on SAWDUST. Something of a grab-bag, the album contains their cover of Joy Division's "Shadowplay" (used in the biopic CONTROL), as well as a tune from the Spider Man 3 soundtrack ("Move Away"). They also pay tribute to less obvious influences with straightforward, unironic covers of Dire Straits' "Romeo and Juliet" and Kenny Rogers's "Ruby Don't Take Your Love to Town." The Killers commune with their elders in a more visceral--albeit equally unexpected--way at the start of SAWDUST on "Tranquilize," where they're joined by none other than Lou Reed.
Rolling Stone (p.84) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[I]t's hard to deny Brandon Flowers' melodic gifts, which fuel catchy uptempos like 'Under the Gun' and 'Where the White Boys Dance'..."
Entertainment Weekly (p.131) - "Brandon Flowers shines...on both the deranged 'Tranquilize' and the haunting 'Sweet Talk'....Gratifyingly great." -- Grade: B
Uncut (p.91) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "SAWDUST...might just be their defining document....The brooding 'Tranquilize' drafts in Lou Reed and displays an untapped understatement that could yet be the making of them."
Q (Magazine) (p.118) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "'Tranquilize' has a sinister ambience and a pronounced art-rock sensibility."