It's easy being cool when you're from Manhattan. Strokes? Interpol?
Yeah Yeah Yeahs? Not impressed. Try it when you're from
rattlesnakes-and- one-armed-bandit country. The Killers are from
casino city - their first UK shows were advertised with the girlie-
enticing strapline "Four Heartbreakers From Las Vegas" - and wrote
their imminent debut album, the appropriately- named Hot Fuss, in a
garage under the 120-degree dry heat of the Nevada sun.
The "Heartbreakers" tag isn't too much of an exaggeration: they have
that boy band something-for-everyone factor (long hair, short hair,
big hair, shaggy hair). Singer Brandon Flowers, who also plays
keyboards (like Hot Hot Heat's Steve Bays), with his serious,
Tarantino eyebrows, skinny tie and prowess with a five iron - he's
interviewed in this month's Golfpunk magazine - has a certain Rat
Pack suaveness. Bassist Mark Stoermer is tall and rangey, guitarist
David Keuning, with his zig-zag guitar and Jagger tongue T-shirt, is
the Nick Valensi of the set-up, and drummer Ronnie Vannucci, with
his cartoon gurning and habit of standing up to play, is very much
their Keith Moon.
They're clearly Anglophiles, and the love is beginning to be
reciprocated. Re-released debut single "Mr Brightside" is number
nine midweek, and Morrissey - the Anglophile's Anglophile -
hand-picked them to support him at a recent Los Angeles show, and
sat in on their soundcheck.
And all this (hot) fuss is not unjustified. The Killers have a habit
of doing exactly what it says on the tin: one of their songs is
called "Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll", and that's about the size of
it. Tracks like "Believe Me Natalie" and "Jenny Was A Friend Of
Mine" are stylish New Wave, intelligent but not verbose, emotional
but not Emo. They are, as Vincent Vaughan would have put it in
Swingers (the ultimate Vegas movie), so money.