All killers,no Fillers

OK, hands up if you ever thought The Killers were English? When the band first burst into the British consciousness, they had a ‘suits-you’ swagger and an archetypal English way of crafting a song hook. As they strolled round a shabby cityscape, chanting, “I’ve got soul, but I’m not a soldier,” in the video for All These Things That I’ve Done, they looked so at home on the cobbled lanes that the producers of Corrie could’ve called ‘em to offer a role.

The band, to further confuse you, signed to a British record label and got famous here first. They took the fictional name of a band in a New Order clip. And, as their 2004 debut album Hot Fuss gave away, they were steeped in British musical history - fans of Bowie, The Beatles, Pulp, The Smiths, Depeche Mode and more… The dynamic 25-year-old front man Brandon

 Flowers, who, along with Dave Keuning (guitars), Mark Stoermer (bass) and Ronnie Vannucci Jr (drums), formed The Killers in Las Vegas, Nevada, is forthright.

“On the first album, I think we adopted a look that wasn’t necessarily ours. I wanted to be like all the guys in bands I read about in the British music press. It mattered whether Morrissey liked me or not.” Whether Morrissey was one of the six million people who bought Hot Fuss is unknown. But the band’s huge initial success allowed them the liberty to make exactly second album they wanted: that album - named Sam’s Town after a landmark casino on the edge of town - is Vegas Americana to the core.

“I was always proud of where I was from,” says Flowers. “But you always think the grass is greener somewhere else.”
“We’ve been going away from home so much we wanted to have a connection with where we come from. On Hot Fuss I was trying to write hits. We wanted success.

Sam’s Town is more a natural statement of who I am.” He’s thoughtful. “I think it can still be loved by everyone. I hope
the British aren’t offended!” The singles taken from Sam’s Town so far - When You Were Young and Bones are unabashedly huge, ambitious, even anthemic. Flowers explains, “The change came about because we were listening to different music such as Bruce Springsteen and U2.”

That CinemaScope atmosphere is further enhanced by the employment of Bono’s mate Flood as producer. In fact, the soundscape ‘borrowed’ by U2 in the Anton Corbijn artwork for their epics The Joshua Tree and Rattle And Hum is the sprawling Mojave Desert. That’s the place The Killers come from - and the place they’d like to take back. The singer says, “Everything’s red and grey and purple and brown - and it’s wonderful. Then you’ve got the glitz of the city. I think we managed to take it into the dirt, up in the mountains - and then there are parts where you go back into the city.”

He has already declared the collection to be, “one of the best albums of the past 20 years. Sam’s Town is it. It’s gonna be the one that keeps rock’n’roll afloat.” So their musical landscape may be vast, but perhaps it will not always be empty. With their big dreams for the future, The Killers have posted an “if you build it, they will come” notice of intent to Nevada’s stadium planners.

Flowers is characteristically determined: “The songs When You Were Young and Sam’s Town are the start of the next stage when things just get bigger and better. It’s fun to have people come together and love something.”

He’s excited, “The goal now is to keep progressing and growing and collecting an army.” An army? So much for having soul, but not being soldiers…

(Thanks Jess!)