Stick­ing it to the man

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC REVIEWS -

THE KILLERS Won­der­ful Won­der­ful ★★★★ Is­land

Long gone are the eye-linered days of

Hot Fuss, when any mem­ber of The Killers could have been the hun­gover lad serv­ing you in Top­man, and in its place stands Won­der­ful Won­der­ful, a slow de­con­struc­tion of mod­ern mas­culin­ity.

By name­drop­ping Bruce Spring­steen on Out of My Mind as an at­tempt to warm up a dis­tant lover, we see the pedestal of man­hood that Bran­don Flow­ers, Dave Ke­un­ing, Mark Sto­er­mer and Ron­nie Van­nucci, Jr. are ey­ing up. With Jack­nife Lee, Erol Alkan and Stu­art Price pro­duc­ing,

Won­der­ful Won­der­ful veers to­wards U2’s Rat­tle and Hum faux-Amer­i­cana era but at least Flow­ers has the sense to wear some­thing more daz­zling than a waist­coat… with noth­ing un­der­neath.

The Man is a glitzy, up­beat disco num­ber that un­der­mines the idea that fame and money make a man, when th­ese things can evap­o­rate in a hot sec­ond. The theme con­tin­ues on Tyson Vs. Dou­glas. With au­dio from the 1990 box­ing match, which saw un­der­dog Buster Dou­glas take out world cham­pion Mike Tyson, we learn that every­thing we have can be taken in one quick un­der­cut, with the win­ner un­sure of what to do next.

Run for Cover’s cut­ting gui­tars and sen­ti­ment are stan­dard Killers ma­te­rial and as Flow­ers paints a dark­ened pic­ture of do­mes­tic abuse, he prom­ises that any­thing is pos­si­ble. “It’s hard to pack the car when all you do is shame us, it’s even harder when the dirt­bag’s fa­mous,” he strains. The Call­ing, a drag­ging, ac­cusatory song, be­gins with a som­bre pas­sage from the Bible (Matthew 9:10-11 to be pre­cise) read by Woody Har­rel­son. Drawl­ing Je­sus’s usual yarn of love thy neigh­bour, it’s a chal­lenge to ques­tion who and what we wor­ship, from re­li­gion to mas­culin­ity to our fallen heroes.

There are mi­cro­doses of flam­boy­ance from the Las Ve­gas act but they’re sub­tle to ham­mer home the point that all, as won­der­ful as it may some­times ap­pear, is not what it seems. thekillersmu­ LOUISE BRU­TON

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