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When The Killers came steaming out of Las Vegas in 2004 the world was ready to embrace the bands brand of retro disco-rock. The nostalgia cycle was beginning to embrace the 1980’s New Wave of synth music with a healthy assist from, of all places, the world of video games and the mass appeal of ‘Vice City’ and its 80’s pop-rock heavy soundtrack. Into the void stepped a previously unknown rock band known as The Killers (a name they nicked from a New Order video ‘Crystal’ from the fictional band depicted in it).
Also it helped immensely that the band had a hunky, charismatic frontman in Brandon Flowers and his crowd-pleasing vocal style. Fortunately for everyone he was more than just a pretty face and could write a fantastic hook and imbue it with perfect phrasing too. Also the band featured a killer (pun-intended) rhythm section with Mark Stoermer bass channeling the incomparable John Taylor of Duran Duran. On the drum kit is Ronnie Vannucci, Jr., who is a dead ringer for actor Jason Lee in appearance, but hits the skins like John Bonham. Also rounding out the band is the excellent guitar work of Dave Kuening, the guy who actually started the band when he ran an ad the Flowers replied to.
As good as the band are, the Killers wouldn’t have set the rock world on fire if they didn’t have the songs to capture and lead the audience’s imagination. And, boy, do they ever deliver the goods on their debut record!
From the opening scene of ‘Jenny Was A Friend of Mine’ and its snaky bass-line masking the grisly subject matter of a murder interrogation the group lets us know this is not your garden-variety rock n’ roll record in your CD player. After that comes the hit parade, starting with the irrepressible ‘Mr. Brightside’, the best audio result of jealousy in music history. ‘Smile Like You Mean It’ brings back memories of watching the O.C. in the mid-00’s and for Randy an ex-girlfriend in a winning package. Following that is the frenetic, genre-bender ‘Somebody Told Me’ and its momentous caffeinated chorus. The anthemic ‘All These Things I’ve Done’ is made for pumping your fist at an arena and is the best song of its kind U2 never wrote. And that’s just Side One people!
Suffice it to say this album and band are Randy’s favorite of this century so far. As for Dan it’s a chance to discover a kick-ass rock band (perhaps the last of its kind in terms of multi-platinum record sales for a new rock band). Also you’ll get to find out what Randy means by a “reverse Def Leppard” and how great of a live act this foursome is.
Somebody told me Dandy Classic was going to be on top this week after all these thing we’ve done on the podcast. Even if you can’t change your mind everything will be alright by the time we’re done.