It used to be the case that British bands were the ones that took American music, revamped it and sold it back to the Americans. These days, the opposite is the case, as bands like Scissor Sisters and The Killers look to UK trends of the Seventies and Eighties for inspiration before selling it back to a British fanbase. Never having much liked Simple Minds the first time round, the appeal of The Killers' Hot Fuss eluded me. But while much of Sam's Town follows the same formula of taking a prickly new-wave sound and pumping it up to stadium-size, U2-style, there are suggestions that they're looking to native acts for inspiration: chiefly Bruce Springsteen, whose big, vaulting choruses and bombastic tone are all over tracks such as "When You Were Young", "Bling (Confession Of A King)" and "This River Is Wild", whose title could have been acquired by cutting-up Springsteen's album titles. The subject matter is largely familiar rock staples like sex ("Bones", "When You Were Young"), drugs ("Uncle Jonny"), and the urge to escape provincial restrictions ("Read My Mind", "Bling", "Sam's Town"); but it's incumbent on all retro-rock to add a fresh wrinkle to the old forms, which The Killers fail to do here. Not that that stopped Oasis, of course.
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