A slight mis-fire...
'The Desired Effect'

Talent and results – they accrue goodwill. There's a trade-off somewhere, an unspoken consensus between artist and listener, that they provide great music, and in return we allow them room to experiment and develop.

In constructing 'Hot Fuss', one of the defining indie-rock albums of the '00s, Brandon Flowers accumulated a great deal of goodwill. Sadly, he's tested our patience and squandered it continually ever since.

Ever the paragon of naïve sincerity, he has self-belief and determination in spades, but these 10 tracks continually buckle under the weight of Flowers' torrid lyrics, mind-numbing cliches, and woefully derivative song structures. 'Dreams Come True' is the worst offender lyrically: "She wasn't having anything, no birds or any bees / Girl, don't go shooting all the dogs down just because one's got fleas."

Elsewhere, the quintessential motifs that sullied his later work with The Killers and his debut album 'Flamingo' are all here, and amplified: the overblown Springsteen-with-synths approach ('Between Me And You'), moronic religious imagery ('Dreams Come True'), and preposterous rhyming couplets ('Diggin' Up The Heart': "Look what the cat dragged in / From his next of kin...").

"I can change, I can change for you!" he implores on one of album's better tracks, the Bronski Beat sampling 'I Can Change'. Sadly though, this album demonstrates the opposite, and that's exactly the problem.

5/10

Words: Benji Taylor

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