It’s 16 years since the Avalanches’ era-defining ‘Since I Left You’. How can a follow-up that took so long sound so meh?
The Killers : Hot Fuss
An album of two halves, one of which was brilliant...
The first great thing about this band is that, after an epoch in thrall to garage rock, they're about
to make U2 cool again. Better still, they inhabit a world of snuff and nonsense where hermaphrodites dance in casino halls and boyfriends murder girlfriends over bottles of bourbon - a stadium rock 'Baywatch Nights' with morals and cumshots. They are a band of Smiths fans from Las Vegas. Their singer is called Brandon Flowers. Their bass player looks like Jesus… on paper, The Killers are fantastic, and live they're even better. So, naturally, we've been pretty excited about them for a while now. And half of 'Hot Fuss' is just as good. This half: singles 'Mr Brightside' and 'Somebody Told Me' (which you already know). 'Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine' (Duran Duran with better basslines and dirtier hair), 'All The Things That I've Done' (for its gospel catcall "I've got soul but I'm not a soldier") and 'On Top' (icy synthtronica meets Springsteen) are all the equals of Bono or Le Bon. Then, just like a Baywatch Nights episode, it all goes a bit tits up.
If it was just that the rest of the album was beige filler, things would be simple. But it isn't. There's
a song toward the end of 'Hot Fuss' called 'Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll', which is possibly the most teeth-grindingly embarrassing thing you will hear in your entire life. It's chorus, and we're not lying, goes, "It's indie rock'n'roll for me!" Jesus, Brandon, people go into rehab for less. But (and it's a big but), being a band of Smiths fans from Las Vegas, maybe it's just excruciating because it's honest, and maybe Mr Flowers is no more smart or guilty than those loveable idiots who ring up Westwood every weekend pretending to be black. And that's before you realise that 'Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll' is actually a facsimile of 'Bohemian Rhapsody', and you realise that The Killers' charm is to be clever and clueless both at once. Still, hate the sin, love the sinner. And The Killers have made half of the album of the year. Lucky that now we've got Napster, you only need to buy half.
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