Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Worst Band In The World - The Killers

The Killers – The Worst Band in the World?

Who are the biggest band in the world? Frankly who gives a dam! The worst band in the world that’s far more interesting.

In the marathon path to claim the coveted prize of The World’s Worst Band same big names have fallen by the wayside. Coldplay, U2, The Strokes even the Kaiser Chiefs where all in contention until The Killers sprinted past them all to steal the prize.

Why The Killers? What makes The Killers the worst band in the world? How have they managed to claim the gold medal when they are so many other bands that could have reached the top of the podium? Well let me explain why.

Brandon Flowers and his fellow Las Vegas cohorts ring as hollow and empty as a death bed religious conversion. The Zang Tumb Tuum they produce is a wretched empty confection of heritage pop influences with nothing added. They dry hump the corpse of 80s music in a misplaced act of affection. They aren’t postmodern simply pastiche. The Killers are all sign and no signifier, eyeliner over heartbreak, affectation over emotion. Artless and heartless. A decaf skinny soya latte of a band.

The Killers started well but have rapidly descended into bland soulless artifice. The opening fours tracks on Hot Fuss blended a warped sense of New Orders rain soaked melancholy, with a hint of sexual tension and a wide screen desert escapism. On Day and Age they sound like a Spandau Ballet b-side from 1985. That’s like starting out dreaming of being Picasso and ending up painting fences for a living. The warning signs of The Killers fate arrive by track five of their debut record, All These Things I’ve Done. Anyone who thinks that the lyric “I’ve got soul but I am not a soldier” is anything other than the dribbling ramblings of three year old child should be shot. It is beyond risible and to think it should be committed to record. Heaven help us.

The Killers journey to becoming the worst band in the world has been astonishing. The speed of the diminishing returns is well in place before the end of Hot Fuss. From synth pop to the school boy Springsteen rip offs on Sam Town’s to the cocktail bar car crash that is Day and Age. When I first heard Day and Age I was reminded of Greil Marcus opening line in his review of Bob Dylan’s Self Portrait. “What is this shit?”

Yet The Killers are headlining festivals, shifting units and gaining acres of press coverage in everything from Sunday supplements to the tabloid press. They are the Oasis of indie pop without Noel’s wit and charisma or the belligerent magnetism of Liam. They repackage a comfortable sound with an empty centre and flog it as something new. They are no juxtapositions, no surprises, no leaps of faith of strange exotic detours. No searching, no ache, no pain, no bliss. The Killers revisionist, reactionary and soulless. The Worst Band in the world? No issue!

Tony Heywood 2009(c)