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R.I.P. Killers - How Little We Knew Thee

By Julene McCoy in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 19, 2006 8:31PM

We knew it was coming. The sophomore slump. The uninspiring live tour. Who is it this time? It’s the Killers.

Now, if anyone had been paying attention when the reviews of Sam’s Town came out – they wouldn’t have bothered with going to the show, because this amusing paragraph lifted from Pitchfork’s review really sums up the reviews of their live show:

The easy target for these near-misses is the madeover Brandon Flowers, though the Killers' new image means he's faced with the difficult task of shifting abruptly from his Robert Smith nasal-whine to Springsteenish bellow. For instance, quiet moments, like the bridge of "When You Were Young" or the outro to "This River Is Wild", reveal the heretofore unknown fact that aiming for Springsteen and missing even slightly results in Meat Loaf. Not that Flowers' bandmates help out any, as a key element of the arena-rock epic, awesome fucking fist-pumping backing vocals, are bungled at every opportunity, from the awkward "I SEE LONDON, I SEE SAM'S TOWN" of the opening track to the faux-Queen ("multi-tracking is hard, what if we all just sing in unison?") of "Bones".

sam.jpgNow, let’s see what Greg Kot had to say about the Killers' performance at the Congress Theatre on Tuesday night:

The band brought a big arena-ready sound to the Congress, but recent songs … brimmed with hackneyed arrangements and the kind of lyrics that sound meaningful but really don’t say much of anything … the newfound grandeur couldn’t disguise that Flowers was busy rhyming “higher and higher” with “down to the wire” and “out of the fire.”

And finally, for no contrast at all, we have Jim Derogatis’ take:

… the Killers, underneath all the flash and filigree, are a decidedly unoriginal and superficial group. And they are turning their backs on the few things that made them a good (not great) one.

Triple ouch. Or should that be, three strikes and you're out? Well, at least there will be room at Mutiny the next time the Killers come to town, amidst Brandon Flowers' nasty drug dependency rumors*, in support of the third album where they go “back to the basics”. Whatever those schizophrenic basics were to begin with.

*This is not even a rumor, but is used to illustrate how cliched rock sometimes can be.