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The Killers
Irony is a band called The Killers helping to revive a dead genre and the world of mainstream music by adding some much-needed originality.

But seriously, who ever heard of a band from Las Vegas making it big? Across the Atlantic even? The Killers were met with such suspicion and more along the way, but they proved the naysayers wrong. Their debut album Hot Fuss was all the rage, and why not? The Killers brought something fresh to the table, something that was missing for a while. Melodious synth-rock.

Massacred in the eighties by the masses in favour of heavy metal and rap, synth-rock died a sudden death, much to the disappointment of Brandon Flowers and his boys. It was Brandonís love for Vegas and the dream of hitting it big in a synth-flavoured band that kept him in the desert while his old bandmates headed out west ~ LA did inevitably beckon them.

It worked out well, or where would Dave Keuning have found a frontman? Especially one with similar interests and with a desire to take things down the eighties road. Bassist Mike Stoermer and drummer Ronnie Vanucci came on later, and to complete themselves, they drew a band name from a New Wave video for Crystal (The Killers was the name on the bass drum of a fictional band in the video). But thatís history, isnít it? And The Killers made more history with their first album.

What The Fuss Was About
Hot Fuss, true to its name, was the flavour of the month, and, for a lot of people, still is. Itís not a quiet album by any standards, and shows that The Killers believe that the best thing to happen to music was when some guy some place decided to plug his guitar (or in this case piano) into an electrical socket (read: amplifier). But donít dismiss them as dependent on their instrumentsí volume, or miscellany of sounds; the band has proved their critics wrong with great acoustic renditions of their songs at concerts.

What Hot Fuss didnít do for The Killers on the charts ~ despite the tracksí popularity, they couldnít hit the top spot ~ ¨did to establish them in both criticsí and fansí eyes as pure platinum. The band went on a massive tour around the UK, even opening for U2 on their Vertigo Tour, which led to their popularity there.

What Bad Publicity?
The Killers have had more than one occasion to slam fellow label mates (Fall Out Boy and The Bravery more noticeably than others) for jumping on the bandwagon, and theyíve taken it up many times. Such rivalry isnít surprising coming from a cocksure band like this. And then thereís Jodi Jones. A Scottish girl whose murder inspired the song Where Is She? Flowers did apologise for this, saying he never meant to insult her memory.

Nobody gets noticed without kicking some dust up these days, and The Killers arenít any different. People are raving already about Flowersís statement that Samís Town would be (one of?) the most important album(s) of the last 20 years. Big words, coming from a man who fronts a band with all of one album in their repertoire. But then again, The Killers never fell short of confidence; in fact, it was their cocky attitude that endeared them to an audience tired of the run oí the mill.

Out And About
When The Killers decided to talk about the new album though, people were asking just one question, ďYouíre The Killers?Ē This question was perhaps fuelled by the lack of eye make up, the sudden shift in wardrobe and the facial hair pulled (strand by strand) from a spaghetti western of old. To me, rather than the hero (or villain) of such tale, Flowers looks more like the bartender. Looks apart though, itís their changed attitude thatís more concerning.

Out with the couldnít-care-less attitude the band had about their fans and critics, these boys seemed ready to leave school now. Now, they donít want to tell you about that friend of theirs (Jenny) or take you to a midnight show, now they want to tread dreaded ground, invade the Bossís land. Apparently. Sure, thereís a Springsteen-esque flavour to the topics of each track. But thatís where the similarity ends.

Down Samís Town
The first thing youíll notice is the album isnít exactly high on song-length. Each song averages about four minutes, and the Enterlude and Exitlude are really just one-song bookends to Samís Town. This is strange contrast with the songsí actual content. The Killers have created far more epic sounds on the album with more songs becoming stadium-friendly than on Hot Fuss ~ Iím referring to All These Things That I Have Done.

Starting with the oddly fascinating Samís Town. The catchy guitar-riff and drum work during the verses, to the ever-so-singable chorus. Of course the clincherís the last stanza; you have to hear it to know what I mean. When You Were Young was a good choice for the first single, although they really couldíve gone a number of ways with the second single.

You can read the rest of our feature on The Killers in the November-December 2006 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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