The Killers’ sophomore album, “Sam’s Town,” is certified platinum. The first single, “When You Were Young,” was nominated for two Grammy Awards. The shows on its current North American tour are selling out.
But frontman Brandon Flowers is still ambivalent about how the group is being received — especially back home — after the 5 million-selling success of the group’s 2004 debut, “Hot Fuss.”
“Actually, in England and Europe, it’s exactly what we wanted. It’s been great,” says Flowers, 25. “In America people have been a lot more cynical about it. It’s really discouraging.
“But,” he adds, “we didn’t get great reviews on the first album, y’know. Everybody made fun of the lyrics on ‘Somebody Told Me’ and the choir on ‘All These Things,’ and we still sold 5 million records. So I understand it doesn’t have that much effect, but it’s just been discouraging when we feel we’ve made a great
“Sam’s Town,” which has sold nearly 1.14 million copies in the United States since its October release, certainly bulks up the New Wave-recalling sound of “Hot Fuss.” It’s a “no-holds barred” soundscape that, according to Flowers, draws freely from influences such as Bruce Springsteen and U2, and from thematic predecessors like the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”
Ironically, he notes, the original intent was a more strippeddown affair.
“I thought ‘Hot Fuss’ was too cluttered,” he says. “We wanted to open (the sound) up and strip it down.”
Instead, the Killers — which also includes guitarist Dave Keuning, bassist Mark Stoermer and drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr. — were seduced by the possibilities presented in the studio by producers Flood and Alan Moulder, whose credits include Depeche Mode, U2, Smashing Pumpkins and more.
“We wanted real strings and brass and anything else you can think of,” Flowers recalls with a laugh. “We had the time now and we had the money now to do all that, and it all just poured out on this record.
“And we love it. It’s really fun to listen to — but it’s definitely not stripped down. Maybe on the third album ...”
That will have to wait, however. The Killers are on the road in North America until June 1, then have dates booked in Europe and Canada through early September.
“We feel these songs deserve to be seen and heard,” Flowers says. “It’s really fun, hopefully, to come and see a Killers show. We want it to be an adventure for people. We really put a lot into the live side of the band, too.”
The Killers and Red Romance perform 7:30 p.m. Wednesday (May 9th) at the Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are sold out. Call (313) 471-6611 or visit www.olymiaentertainment.com.
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