Label – Lizard King Records
Producer – The Killers, Jeff Saltzman
Rejected by virtually every label in their homeland, The Killers fortunate route to discovery and subsequent success came with demo tapes exchanging hands thousands of miles away in London. Although turned down by Warner Bros at a showcase for new acts, UK representative Niall Norbury sensed the seeds of something unexplainable and passed raw tapes on until they eventually found small indie label boss Martin Heath. Impressed by both the music and leader Brandon Flowers’ charismatic and limitless positivity to the potential of the project, he signed the band to his Lizard King label in 2003. Flowers had every reason to be confident, as his band filled a gap in the resurgent guitar rock revival of the early decade. Whilst The Strokes had covered minimalist garage rock, and Franz Ferdinand built their success with spiky Art pop, The Killers took their anglophile influenced 80s pop/rock, and with the benefit of strong hooks, a roughshod non-image that resisted the immediacy of mainstream acknowledgment and empty visual gratification, as a result proceeded in enveloping the top slots of the charts throughout 2004 and beyond.
Granted, as the NME suggested at the time the quality does begin to tail off towards the end, but the first six tracks of “Hot Fuss” are as powerful, explosive and infectious as anything from the decade. Mark Stoermer’s thunderous lead bass lick overlaying Flower’s sustained synth stabs on the melodramatic opener “Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine” sets a thrilling, attention grabbing tone. The atmospheric Edge influenced guitar picking from David Keuning and Ronny Vannucci’s tense, rushing rhythms set a perfect backdrop for Flowers to express an air of desperation and jealousy on “Mr Brightside”. The superbly funked up “Somebody Told Me” recalls Duran Duran but with a more hardened indie/rock sensibility as one could still sense it was primarily aimed at the indie kids first and the pop world would follow in the flowing wake.
The Killers will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the bands of the decade, and “Hot Fuss” set the manifesto that the Las Vegas four piece hoped would be expounded on subsequent recordings. Very much like The Strokes and Franz Ferdinand; although consistent, they’ve never quite matched the thrill of their debut.
1 Jenny Was a Friend of Mine 4:04
2 Mr. Brightside 3:42
3 Smile Like You Mean It 3:54
4 Somebody Told Me 3:17
5 All These Things That I’ve Done 5:01
6 Andy, You’re a Star 3:14
7 On Top 4:18
8 Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll 4:14
9 Believe Me Natalie 5:06
10 Midnight Show 4:02
11 Everything Will Be Alright 5:45
Somebody Told Me