Big Talk | Big Talk

Epitaph (2011)
By RYAN REED  |  July 26, 2011
2.5 2.5 Stars

BT Main

Following in the footsteps of perpetually uncool drummer-turned-solo artists Phil Collins and Don Henley, Killers stick-man Ronnie Vannucci tries his hand at writing '80s arena anthems while his main gig takes a time-out. Big Talk, the overblown result, is way catchier and more laughably stupid than anything the Killers have done since "Somebody Told Me." Vannucci as a vocalist and lyricist lacks the star power to keep up his larger-than-life showboating over the course of 40-plus minutes. For a while, though, it's a thrilling ride. "Katzenjammer" is the best Killers-related track in years, riding a sky-sized chorus and some of the slickest studio gloss a major label can afford (production by Joe Chiccarelli, mixing by Alan Moulder). "Replica," replete with gloriously cheesy synths and a mammoth guitar crunch, would be a surefire chart-topper in 1985. The influences are clear: Petty, Ocasek, Springsteen — all pretty big shoes to fill. "Getaways," with its palm-muted riffs and chugging beats, aims for prime Cars but ends up more Make Believe–era Weezer. And when Vannucci tries his hand at ELO-style psych-pop sweep in "The Next One Living," the effect is repetitive — and a bit queasy, given his desperately out-of-tune vocals. At the end of the day, there's only so much big talk a sane person can handle.
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  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, The Killers, Ronnie Vannucci,  More more >
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