The Killers : Hot Fuss

An album of two halves, one of which was brilliant...

Science: if you accept the principle of infinity (go with us here, because if you don’t you’re pretty much rubbishing every rule in the known universe from ‘gravity’ to ‘people who wear scarves indoors being idiots’) then, taken to its logical conclusion, every permutation of every possibility will eventually happen. So it was only a matter of time before the world of rock’n’roll threw up a band from Las Vegas (say it again – Las Vegas) who wished beyond wishes that they’d been born into the rain-soaked grudgery of 1980s British indie. To the point where the four members used to race each other to get the only two copies of this magazine that got stocked in Vegas. So let’s not be under any illusions: [a]The Killers[/a] are weird.

The first great thing about this band is that, after an epoch in thrall to garage rock, they’re about

to make [a]U2[/a] 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’ ([a]Duran Duran[/a] with better basslines and dirtier hair), ‘All The Things That I’ve Done’ (for its gospel catcall [I]”I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier”[/I]) 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 [a]Smiths[/a] 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 [a]The Killers[/a]’ charm is to be clever and clueless both at once. Still, hate the sin, love the sinner. And [a]The Killers[/a] have made half of the album of the year. Lucky that now we’ve got Napster, you only need to buy half.

Dan Martin

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