The Killers’ lead guitarist Dave Keuning strikes a melodic note on a brilliant new single that switch-hits and dazzles.
The Killers have always been a band I’ve had a penchant for. There was something genuinely iconic in their makeup, while their approach to the art of simply being a rock band was always hugely admirable.
Since the turn of the century, it’s been an increasing rarity in rock to see a band with a simple, one-two lead singer/lead guitarist combo out front. In Brandon Flowers and Dave Keuning, the Killers had a truly appealing example of that concept whose individual uniqueness made them greater than the sum of their parts.
All of that said, those gushes were put to one side when I found out this morning that the latter of that duo has a new single out. I must admit, I feared the worst – and for good reason too.
Traditionally, lead guitarist solo ventures are not the most fruitful, certainly not in a songwriting sense. One need only look at the respective solo efforts of Slash and Johnny Marr, for instance, to see two lead guitarists of extreme importance in the annals of rock history whose solo outputs have been completely disappointing fare.
But fear not because Restless Legs, the new single from Dave Keuning, is an utterly brilliant, early-80s leaning confection of a song that hits home through three disorienting structural phases, marking it out as completely surprising and totally welcome.
The intro leads in with a lulling four chord synth movement – to digress slightly, I swear that’s the synth setting from his former band’s hit Read My Mind – and a repeated syllabic vocal phrase that says: “Everywhere you go, anything you do, no matter what you say, you can’t shake this feeling” before ending the full phrase telling you: “You never see it coming.”
And Keuning from that final point is indeed correct. You really do not see it coming as, quicker than a prime Larry Holmes jab, an early Depeche Mode synth hook drops in and the song switches focus.
From here, Keuning begins telling you that you’re “searching for your inspiration” over that ludicrously catchy synth line and a kick-snare drum pattern that will frankly leave you searching for nothing other than your dancing shoes.
Then, to close out, Keuning creates a fusion of those two sections and the song exits having been around for little over three minutes, leaving you breathless at its sheer overall quality and conciseness and its locked in melodic underpinning and rhythmic simplicity.
Restless Legs, then, is a truly fantastic effort from Keuning and it has given me jitters not just because of its delivery, but also in anticipation of the forthcoming album it leads off of, called Prismism and due next month.
Never mind the Killers and all of their classic rock leanings and iconic posturing, it might indeed just be Dave Keuning I have a penchant for from here on in.