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The Killers 

With Louis XIV. Friday, September 7, at the Wolstein Center.

They sold more than 5,000,000 copies of their bottom-shaking, new-wave-flavored debut, Hot Fuss. But the Killers clearly learned a thing or two in their Vegas stomping ground about playing the long odds, returning last October with a second effort, Sam's Town, that surprisingly owes less to old Duran Duran than old Springsteen. And yet it almost suits them -- much more than the facial hair.

Singer and keyboardist Brandon Flowers credits the Boss with making him fall back in love with America, and he's responded with a thank-you note that shamelessly revisits every trick in Springsteen's book. There's not much hope of Sam's Town living up to Flowers' idle boast that it's among the greatest albums of the past two decades -- not unless the list is several thousand albums long. But the disc's a good deal better than it looks on paper. Playing to the back rows of those stadiums, the Killers are still rocking with a sense of gravitas that's every bit as '80s as those silly synth-pop moves that made them famous in the first place.

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