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Record Rating: ***

THE KILLERS - SAMíS TOWN Hands down the most anticipated rock íní roll debut of 2004 was The Killersí Hot Fuzz, which came burdened with unrealistic expectations ~ that it would save guitar rock, that it was the reincarnation of ELO, that it was the yearís definitive new album. Whatever. While the band happily admitted to stealing their name from a New Order video, their original first single Somebody Told Me, a surging piece of emo pop, turned the Las Vegas foursome into overnight stars, at least with the MTV crowd and in modern rock circles.

The Killers made no bones about their love of 80s new wave, Bruce Springsteen and U2 on their strikingly assured debut, and opting not to fix what broke them, latest release Samís Town tries to serve up more of the stylish, angular sound that worked so well before. With punchy guitar solos, extended refrains and breathy swaying choruses, the twelve tracks here should come with a cigarette lighter.

Front man Brandon Flowers proves he knows his way around a melody with the rest of the band backing him up harmoniously ~ whether itís on the pure pop of first single When You Were Young (which went to #1 on the both the UK and US charts) or the Duran Duran-like new wave cool of For Reasons Unknown and Read My Mind.

With a strong beginning and end, the album sort of runs out of steam in the middle ~ the Metallica inspired Uncle Johnny being one of the worst offenders. As a result, Samís Town doesnít have the same shock of the new that their debut delivered on first listen. More Top 40 oriented, this attempts to sell the glitzy rush of todayís alternative pop to an audience weaned on U2ís The Joshua Tree. And that audience includes The Killers themselves. Listen to this, it may surprise you.

Read our other reviews:

Take That - Beautiful World       Muse - Black Holes And Revelations       Akon - Konvicted       Imogen Heap - Speak For Yourself      


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