The Killers

Austin City Limits Festival

September 17, 2004

We don’t mean to be like that. We really don’t. Reviewers can be so banal in the way they describe a band’s sound, but since we’re not all poets and the easier way out is normally the quickest, we resort to the usual: “If this band and that band met, they’d sound like(insert new band).” “If this band had breakfast with and later went shopping for red pumps with that band, they would sound like(insert new band).” You get the idea. The laziest and most made-fun-of example of bad music writing is the car crash birth of sound: “If such and such band crashed with such and such band, it would sound like(insert new band).” No, actually, everyone would die in an oily, bloody mess. I hate it when writers resort to that.

But, seriously, if Duran Duran’s pink leopard spotted van and The Strokes’ unassuming Pinto collided head-on, the sound created would be that of The Killers. The dance/rock quartet is one of the many “the” bands that appeal to both suburban and city kids. They had a hit with the infectious but lyrically mindless “Somebody Told Me” this summer, and I’m sure they could have the same kind of success with the poppy but depressing “Mr. Brightside.” The Killers gave me the impression they’ll be a one-hit wonder with their set at the Austin City Limits Festival Friday afternoon. They weren’t bad. The music was actually catchy as all hell, and the mixture of dance beats and a detached, dark, monotone lyrical delivery was interesting. It’s just that the music didn’t move me. I tapped my foot, moved my head, but their music would probably be best left to the background of house-cleaning Saturdays. Lead singer/keyboardist Brandon Flowers resembled and pranced like Simon LeBon, and drummer Ronnie Vannucci couldn’t stay on his stool, but the energy wasn’t enough. Don’t buy the album. Enjoy the radio singles.

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