THE KILLERS Hot Fuss (Vertigo)

Two years after the rest of the world, I finally get to hear The Killers. After at least three friends independently raved about their genius at me, one of them kindly gifted me the Las Vegas quartet’s 2004 debut. And to me, well, it’s that same mix of Duran Duran, The Cure, a particularly uninspired New Order and Strokes-alike hosepiped vocals that I heard on The Bravery’s eponymous album (which, admittedly, “Hot Fuss” predates).

To be fair, The Killers have a knack for monstrously anthemic choruses, but it’s the ungainly glue that holds them together that disappoints. There’s an awkwardness to the lyrics, as if the band are trying to imbue their flash hollowness with a depth and significance it hasn’t earned.

Mindlessly enjoyable though “Mr Brightside” might be, it’s also Bowie’s “Queen Bitch” sprinkled with digital glitter. The turgid, sluggish dirge of “Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll” is anything but what the title suggests, and if it’s intended as a parody, well, that joke isn’t funny anymore. (Was it ever?) “Everything Will Be Alright” is similarly woozy and lumpen, and Brandon Flowers’ vocals blare like a foghorn through “Midnight Show”. The album’s one genuinely weird – as opposed to “Look at me, aren’t I weird?” – moment, is “Andy, You’re A Star”, a gospel-powered jock homage that unfolds like a pack of randomly shuffled Polaroids.

“Hot Fuss” is harmless plastic retro rock, and I suppose it should be refreshing to see a different set of influences being recycled, but as to why so many have embraced it so fervently, I’m stumped.