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The Killers - Direct Hits (Review)

The Killers, Direct Hits

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

HERE’S a potentially controversial statement: The Killers aren’t the great band that many credit them with being.

The release of Direct Hits, a collection of singles from the band’s four albums, as well as two new songs, released to coincide with their 10th anniversary, displays a band that are good if a little samey.

Their sound is big, their frontman charismatic and they’re expert storytellers. But their tendency to lean towards ’80s references and epic grandeur can make them sound repetitive. And a lot of their material already sounds dated, probably by virtue of its retro inclination.

Direct Hits perhaps underlines these points a little too ruthlessly. It starts brightly, with the breakthrough likes of Mr Brightside and Somebody Told Me, but even they sound old now, whereas the best greatest hits collections tend to make classic songs still seem fresh.

That said, Brandon Flowers still displays his showmanship and injects plenty of charisma into the lyrics, especially when being called upon to relay their epic tales (A Dustland Fairytale, Runaways etc). But his tendency to want to emulate Springsteen at times and Meat Loaf at others also becomes a little boring over the course of a 15-song compilation.

Direct Hits is therefore a little underwhelming. The genuine highlights actually more spaced out than I’d imagined.

Mr Brightside remains one, Miss Atomic Bomb another. Read My Mind continues to display a powerful emotional undercurrent and benefits from a more deliberately melancholy feel. Runaways is a Killers moment to rival Springsteen at his finest.

New single Shot At The Night is also pretty solid… cinematic, epic, nocturnal and inspiring (complete with the type of synth backdrop that Nicolas Winding Refn might like to employ on a future soundtrack).

But the second new track, Just Another Girl, is typical Killers in the way that it slow-builds and relies on the production skills of long-time collaborator Stuart Price, who perhaps also needs to bring a little more to the mix in future.

Download picks: Mr Brightside, Miss Atomic Bomb, Shot At The Night, Runaways, Read My Mind

Track listing:

  1. Mr Brightside
  2. Somebody Told Me
  3. Smile Like You Mean It
  4. All These Things That I’ve Done
  5. When You Were Young
  6. Read My Mind
  7. For Reasons Unknown
  8. Human
  9. Spaceman
  10. A Dustland Fairytale
  11. Runaways
  12. Miss Atomic Bomb
  13. The Way It Was
  14. Shot At The Night
  15. Just Another Girl