Last year, the Killers plucked this Utah quartet from obscurity by bringing them on tour. As if in repayment, Neon Trees' debut plays like a ham-fisted hommage to their Vegas buddies, down to the surging synths and "whoa-oh" chorus of their single, a scoop of dance-rock mac 'n' cheese called "Animal." Other tracks wrap sparkling keyboards around angsty melodies and lyrics like "I'd love but don't know how to." The biggest problem is how hard the band tries: Rockers like "Love and Affection" go for the gut punch with huge, pained choruses. Habits is more Sam's Town than Hot Fuss — and that's not a good thing.
- Neon Trees
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