Smile Like You Mean It
Somebody Told Me
Shortlist Music Prize Nominees (number: 2004)
1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die (2005 edition)
The Killers are cool. With "Somebody Told Me" they've made one of the singles of the year. And this debut album shows they have most of the things you need for a great band.
For a start you need a great singer. Brandon Flowers fits the bill perfectly. He's got charisma, commitment and a unique vocal style. All the Killers look good, with that scruffy unfashionable glamour that all the best bands have. And it helps if you have a great drummer. Ronnie Vanucci's infectious energy powers along the best tracks here.
The music is big, bold and confident. Clearly their influences are from 80s rock but they've put them together to create something of their own. "Mr Brightside" bounces along like The Cure on steroids but without the self-pity. The only thing they really have in common with Robert Smith's crew is the wobbly synthesizers which they use as an occasional texture. "Smile Like You Mean It" swaggers like early U2, but Bono's sincerity is replaced with a far more satisfying cynicism. "Andy, You're A Star" is classic wiry (and Wire-y) bump and grind track, while "Glamorous Indie Rock 'N' Roll" combines power riffing, a big chorus and tongue in cheek lyrics. It will surely sound perfect in big stadiums.
The Killers haven't quite got everything right on Hot Fuss. There are two or three weak songs, and the production could have been more imaginative. On the final track "Everything Will Be Alright" the wobbly synthesisers take over completely for a bizarre ballad finale. I can't decide whether this is a stroke of genius or a ghastly mistake. And I reckon Hot Fuss is a terrible title for an album.
But the band does sound ambitious and hungry to progress to bigger and better things. And with good reason, they've certainly got the potential to get there.