Almost two decades ago, Dave Keuning left Iowa and moved to Las Vegas, where he placed an ad in the Las Vegas Weekly, which stated he wanted to form a band and cited Oasis as one of his influences. Twenty-year-old Brandon Flowers answered the ad. Keuning gave him a four-track demo of “Mr Brightside.” Before long, The Killers formed, followed by releasing five albums and touring the world, performing hits like “Somebody Told Me,” “Read My Mind,” “When You Were Young,” and “Human,” along with many others.
In 2017, Keuning took an extended sabbatical from The Killers but has since returned and is recording new material with the band. 2019 saw Keuning release his debut solo LP, Prismism, a collection of 14-tracks on which Keuning played all the instruments, except the drums. He’s now releasing his sophomore solo project, A Mild Case of Everything, featuring Seth Luloff on drums and The Killers’ bassist, Mark Stoermer, on “Bad Instincts.”
A Mild Case of Everything is the result of last year’s quarantine. Ensconced in his home in San Diego, Keuning started writing and recording songs, blending potent guitar riffs with ‘80s synth-pop and mellow alt-rock flavours.
Keuning shares, “I wrote and recorded this album throughout 2020. I am really proud of the music, and I think it is my best work. I felt more comfortable as a singer this time and had a lot of fun with the guitar. I also took some chances on some short songs, long songs and did whatever I felt like. ‘Don't Poke the Bear’ is a 9-minute song I wrote in the middle of the night and just kept adding parts to it until 5 in the morning. I tried to have fun, but I also have moments lyrically I am proud of.”
Encompassing 16-tracks, the album starts with “From Stardust,” opening on gleaming tones flowing into a synth-pop melody driven by platinum-coloured guitars, pushing out alluring discharges of ‘80s pop savours.
Highlights on A Mild Case of Everything include “Ends of the Earth,” riding smooth percussion complemented by a pulsing bassline. Jangly guitars, accented by electro-arpeggios and a jingling tambourine, imbue the tune with sonic brio. A personal favourite, “The Fountain”, conjures up suggestions of The Killers, travelling on shimmering synths and hazy guitars. The flow and rhythm of the tune is addictive, radiating faint tints of pop-punk-lite.
The next track, “Time and Fury”, rolls out on sinuous textures of alt-rock and once more displays Keuning’s feel for mesmeric rhythm. “On the Ground” pumps out the aromas of the Beatles, brimming with luscious thrumming guitars emanating bright layers of infectious colouration. Keuning’s vocals infuse the lyrics with vibrant zest. “Don’t Poke The Bear” delivers darker energy from bellyaching guitars. Yet there’s a luminous rinse to the tune, bestowed by glossy horns. A low-slung shimmering shift gives the melody scintillating kaleidoscopic tangs, followed by ramping up to heavy resonant guitars forming a wall of sound.
“World’s On Fire” rides rumbling drums and a fat bassline while sparkly choppy keyboards imbue the melody with blooming hues. A Mild Case of Everything provides a marvellous listening experience while parading Dave Keuning’s guitar virtuosity and delicious songwriting ability.