When The Killers first released a single, I knew very little about them. I ignored the press, the hype, the acclaim and pretty-much everything to do with them over their debut months in the charts before the release of their album. The Killers did not strike me as my kind of band. In fact, I am not really much of a 'band' person, preferring dance music in its widest meaning (including everything from Orbital to Paul Van Dyke). Then my best friend introduced me to the album, playing it in its entirety on a drive down to the airport and, after the last track finished, I insisted on repeating it from the beginning for the rest of the journey. It was simply awesome.
Kicking off with Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine, a sombre tale of being a murder suspect, we soon find ourselves surrounded by songs with quite serious theme - lost love, cheating partners and so forth - and yet none of them are in the least bit depressing. Each track radiates power and passion, the dark undertones giving the lyrics presence without taking away any of the sing-along-ability. The second track, Mr. Brightside, is easily the best track on the album (I have noticed this pattern on many of my CDs - from Bjork to Massive Attack - the second track often tends to be the highlight). It just about sums up the strength and vitality of this band, with decent adult lyrics delivered with emotion and gusto amidst a flurry of beats and chords - and that catchy tune - all of which cannot fail but draw you into the experience. It perfectly captures the feeling of looking on the bright side of a bad situation and I would even go so far as saying this is the kind of track you need to do the same thing yourself. The third track you might recognise from The O.C. and again you may note the familiar synth theme that plays throughout. Reaching another pinnacle, we get Somebody Told Me, the single that most will recognise from the lyris 'Somebody told me that you had a boyfriend who looked like a girlfriend...'. Another solid offering, adopting a slightly more electro-pop feel to the rest of the tracks so far, but to good effect. Then we get All These Things I've Done, which has also has some really great lyrics, interjecting the comment 'I've got soul but I'm not a soldier' just when you thought it could not get any better. The next few tracks adopt more keyboard work, though not with the catchy result that we saw over those that have come so far. Believe Me Natalie reminded me a bit of U2, with just the right drumming, strumming and synth work - along with overbearing vocals - to mirror the kind of work they would do, along with some great light brass and synth work for the climax. It's a solid track, followed by Midnight Show that returns to the form of the first and fourth songs, bringing in a bit of a Duran Duran feel to the party. Oddly, the very final few tracks are the weak point of the album, with 11, 12 and 13 coming across as much slower, stranger songs that do not quite suit the rest of the album. The closing track, Under The Gun, brings back the speed, strength and catchiness of the first few offerings, exuding that upbeat passion that we have been missing since the opening salvo. It may be a case of too little too late for those who never made it past the last few tracks, but it is worth skipping to if you get the chance. Overall, The Killers simply rock. This album is superb and will have you drawn in and rocking along as the lead vocalist, Brandon Flowers, puts his all into delivering the surprisingly accessible lyrics with a passion that makes the potentially depressing seem positively upbeat. I suspect, especially from the footage of them I saw on TV, that a live performance from them would be a spectacle - seeing them really put their all into delivering up songs simply bursting with energy and vitality. Until you get that opportunity, take pleasure in this excellent offering with innumerable unmissable tracks, both engaging and uplifting, marking it as one of the best debut albums I have ever come across.
As I've already stated, I would have never picked The Killers as being my kind of band. Consider me well and truly corrected in that matter because this album is absolutely superb, with more catchy, passionate tracks with verve than I have come across from any other artist recently - let alone on their debut album. You will no doubt find the first half of the production much more playable than the second, but that is not because the rest is bad, just because the opening few tracks are so utterly brilliant that it is difficult to keep such a high standard up. If you like any of the released tracks you have heard by The Killers then this album simply cannot disappoint you and if you have never come across them before then - no matter what your tastes - just give Mr. Brightside a shot. He might just cheer up your day.
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