eople who are pissed off about these guys diluting the radio waves before Interpol could get the attention they deserve (and I’m guessing there’s at least one in every dorm) should take it easy. Yes, it sounds like the New York foursome after a lobotomy and a remix from Nick Rhodes or some other guy who wears too much make-up. But anytime a band finds a relatively new sound (in this case a mixture of post-Pixies martial aggression and Echo & The Bunnymen dreaminess—late ‘80s college rock distilled), hacks will spill out of the woodwork, hoping to latch onto a worthwhile shtick. Instead of indignantly bemoaning the way the corporate rock world rewards copycats instead of true innovators, one should sit back and welcome the benefits. And instead of crying about Jet or the Killers being a bunch of idiot posers, one should celebrate how they represent the increase of danceability and playfulness on sluggish rawk radio (better “Cold Hard Bitch” than oppressive hard-rock bitching). It’s actually more cynical than pining for some messianic figure to smash the system and it lets you save that precious ulcer-space for something more worthwhile.
I’ll admit that The Killers are idiots though. Any band that brings out a gospel choir to join them on a chant of “I’ve got soul, but I’m not a solider” would have to be. But they surround their romantic anxieties with shameless keyboard swells and an energetic rhythm section (this club-hopping life is stressful, but that’s not going to keep them from dancing). I’d rather a vapid anglophile like singer Brandon Flowers imitate Interpol honcho Paul Banks’ introspective art-girl-baiting (cryptic, but not so much so that we forget it’s about sex) with enjoyable bravado than have him join the likes of Remy Zero in the Bono-wannabe sweepstakes. I want my pretty boys (the bass player looks like Hansel, who’s so hot right now) to stay on the dance floor, where they belong. Plus the Killers’ decision to up the drama and the boogie will save Interpol from being remembered as the emo Duran Duran.
Where my once wholly irreverent take on Turn On The Bright Lights eventually softened as lines about time spent a-lying took on surprising emotional weight and I realized how effective and inspired the arrangements actually were, the songs on Hot Fuss don’t reveal new layers of musical or lyrical depth after multiple listens. This album’s appeal is so superficial that those who don’t cotton to guys trying to look pretty while the bombs drop should avoid this entirely. But those of us who enjoy a good nu-wave dance party should appreciate these flashy drama kings before drugs, professionalism or a desire for respect renders them truly intolerable.
Reviewed by: Anthony Miccio
Reviewed on: 2004-09-03