A respectable collection which raises the question: why do the Killers pad their albums out with mediocre filler, when they have at least some decent alternative material to spare?
Rating: 6 ½ / 10
Kilian Murphy, 28 Nov 2007
The prospect of a Killers B-sides/rarities record is not, on the face of it, particularly appetising. They're a good band – very good, in fact – but consistency and quality control have never been their areas of expertise.
Pertinent questions can be raised about the necessity of this record, but for a sizeable chunk of Sawdust, Flowers and co. provide some very satisfactory replies. The album’s opening half is storming: the rumbling, orchestrated pop-rock of Lou Reed collaboration ‘Tranquilize’ sets a standard that's sustained admirably, for a stretch.
‘All The Pretty Faces’ pulls the familiar Killers trick of juxtaposing fresh-faced, somewhat youth-clubby rock’n’roll moves with smart electro touches, plus lavish helpings of melancholy. ‘Leave The Bourbon On The Shelf’ is crisp, hook-filled pop-rock – though Brandon Flowers’ obvious vocal limitations are cruelly exposed in its a capella outro. ‘Sweet Talk’ rides on rich swathes of quivering electro, while ‘Show You How’ has a sludgy-yet-glamorous feel, reminiscent of early Suede.
Things run aground in the record’s second half; predictably, perhaps, but it would be unfair to expect sustained brilliance from a rarities collection. We're “treated” to rather too much by-the-numbers Killers rock, alongside two thoroughly pointless covers (Kenny Rogers’ ‘Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town’ and Dire Straits’ ‘Romeo And Juliet’) which do little more than build the group’s weaknesses into superior originals.
Proceedings are salvaged at the last, though, with Jacques Lu Cont’s remix of ‘Mr. Brightside’, which replaces the original’s bleary rush with some pretty, downtempo digital melancholy.
A respectable collection, then, which raises the question: why do the Killers pad their albums out with mediocre filler, when they have at least some decent alternative material to spare?