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Old 01-31-2005, 04:37 AM   #1
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For Your Consideration: The Killers*

By Carrie Alison, Chief Editor

Sure, the hype around them is deafening. It's like a bad "Twilight Zone" episode where you're stuck in a traffic jam for days and the car next to you plays the same song over and over.

In the world of modern/alt.rock radio, it is kill or be killed—by Clear Channel's obnoxious monopoly or the Linkin Park and Velvet Revolver juggernauts.

And then there are The Killers.

In June 2004, four dapper young men from Las Vegas entered the room with "Hot Fuss," a melodic, soaring debut album dripping with swagger and sounding much like a certain group of four Irish lads did on its first album, "Boy," 25 years ago.

Formed in 2002 and lead by crooning singer Brandon Flowers and backed by drummer Ronnie Vannucci, guitarist David Keuning and bassist Mark Stoermer, The Killers don't hide its influences—Morrissey, Duran Duran, David Bowie, U2 and New Order. But what the band does with those influences makes for one of the most contagious and endearing alternative rock debut albums I've ever heard.

As "Hot Fuss" quickly notched towards Gold certification through strong word of mouth online and bolstered by heavy radio and MTV airplay, The Killers found itself in high demand by the media. It was during these interviews that the influence U2 had on Flowers—who grew up watching "Rattle and Hum" and counts "Where the Streets Have No Name" as an example of a perfect pop song—became apparent, and even some interesting similarities came to light, too.

For instance, the charming and intellectually intense Flowers is a spiritually-minded Mormon who relies on his friendship with his band mates to drown out the seedier aspects of a life in rock 'n' roll. Much like Bono, The Edge and Larry Mullen Jr., Flowers' religious roots are a major facet of his life. "It's very important. I mean, it's important in everyone's life," Flowers told SPIN in 2004. "Basic religion is the reason we have morals."

Listening to "Hot Fuss," I am consistently bowled over by the maturity and passion the young Flowers brings to his lyrics, much like a young Bono did on U2's early albums. Weaving a dark story that delves into jealousy, love, sex and death, the album is refreshingly self-assured and absolutely destined to grab your attention from start to finish, much like U2's own relationship opus, 1991's "Achtung Baby." Bono, according to a variety if sources, took notice of "Hot Fuss" and met the band backstage after a Killers show in Dublin to give them a tip: avoid making the "interesting" second album.

Two tracks in particular, "All These Things That I've Done," and "Midnight Show" should delight U2 fans with soaring vocals, self-reflection, ringing Edge-like guitars, spirituality, sex and thumping Mullen-esque drums. It's during these songs that I can see the bright future of The Killers and where its next offerings might take the band. "All These Things That I've Done" features a gospel chorus for the stunning refrain "I got soul but I'm not a soldier," and "Midnight Show" features sweat-soaked vocal gymnastics from Flowers as he exclaims "Drive faster, boy." Just two examples of songs that could be sonic cousins of anything off of U2’s beloved "The Unforgettable Fire."

"We all are fans of big songs," Flowers recently told the Sydney Morning Herald. "I love hits. To be upset that we used a major label or to feel dirty or something because of that, I mean, give me a break. Have you ever heard of Radiohead and U2 and the Beatles and the Rolling Stones? It's just ridiculous."

As a live band, the members of The Killers are still finding their footing, even while attracting VIP attendants like Elton John and David Bowie on its recent world tour. A packed show in November at The Masquerade in Tampa found Flowers out front, snazzily dressed in a cream-colored blazer with his equally well-dressed band mates behind him, although none of the band seemed comfortable just yet truly stepping up its collective showmanship, instead quite content to jam behind their given instruments with little banter or playfulness with the audience. To The Killers' credit, this young band has toured the world non-stop since "Hot Fuss" took off and a "very good" compared to an "amazing" show at this early stage in its career is understandable. Perhaps in the future, Flowers will crawl inside his electrifying songs and inhabit them, just as The Killers' rabid fan base seems to as they dance and sing along to every word that drips from his powerful vocal chords.

Early December brought the 2005 Grammy nomination announcement, pitting U2 against The Killers in two categories, Best Rock Performance By a Duo or Group With Vocal and Best Rock Song. The hot and bothered fuss is no lark, The Killers' ride to the top is just beginning and a stint as an opening act on U2’s eagerly anticipated Vertigo Tour would surely push them even farther into the spotlight of the world stage. Bono, are you listening?

For more information on The Killers, visit their official website at:

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Old 01-31-2005, 01:39 PM   #2
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Definitely the second best album of 2004. I look forward to watching their career blossom.

"My feeling is that it is cool for people to share our music -- as long as no one is making money from the process. We tell people who come to our concerts that they can tape the shows if they want. I think it is cool that people are so passionate about our music" -- Bono
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Old 02-01-2005, 04:24 AM   #3
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You know, I really like the Killers. One of the absolute best debut albums in recent times. I would certainly not be heartbroken if they beat out U2 at the Grammys, because lord knows they deserve it for crafting such a great debut album.
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Old 02-04-2005, 03:28 AM   #4
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I love these guys along with Rasmus and the Bravery.. some great bands. KOL are fantastic as well!!

great read Carrie thanks..
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Old 02-04-2005, 04:00 PM   #5
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I've been listening to them a lot lately. They sound so fresh.

I like Lincon Park...
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Old 02-16-2005, 10:56 AM   #6
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Hot Fuss is better than How to Dismantle and Atomic Bomb. Hell, this album might be one of the best I've heard in half a decade.
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Old 02-24-2005, 09:08 AM   #7
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OK. I've decided.

Midnight Show IS a U2 song. Listen to Midnight Show. Then listen to I Will Follow.

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Old 03-06-2005, 01:42 AM   #8
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They were great at Brixton Academy a few weeks back - cant stop playing their album and look forward to seeing them support U2 in the summer
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Old 11-04-2005, 02:05 AM   #9
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I'm still uncertain as to how I feel about them.........

I'll have to listen to more of their music.

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