For a band who gets sh*t on in every sense of the phrase, Kings Of Leon sure do make some decent records. The boys continue to make their own brand of music with a solid collection of songs for the fans who've stuck with them over the years. "Solid" may be a relative term here, most dismiss the Fallowills for being rock's punchline, a mainstream mediocre act more akin to the Jonas Brothers than the Black Keys, despite their successes. But it sure does feel like they re-appropriate the phrase "if it aint broke, don't fix it" to "we sound how we want, so f*ck the people who don't like it".
So it doesn't come as a total surprise that Come Around Sundown
is a natural follow-up to 2008's Only By The Night
. It contains all of the things that KoL have developed over the years and love playing with, a proggy take on riff distribution, catch-em-looking lyrics, and mellowed out ruminations, plus an attitude of absolute disregard for any and all criticisms of their previous faults.
Arpeggiated guitar is pretty much the standard base for a KoL song, and most of the songs that incorporate this and a notable bass line wind up being worthy of Only By The Night
(which, I need to say, was a fairly good record and sold well despite disparate attitudes from critics). Thus the first three songs move with absolutely perfect continuity from their last record. "The End", the beginning, is a complimentary alternate reality version of OBTN
opener "Closer". "Radioactive" continues the KOL idea of a "pop song" along the lines of "Sex on Fire", albeit a little more G rated. And "Pyro" reminds me of the more mellowed, melancholy tracks of their previous work, simple, fluid, and harmonically enjoyable.
From there it's hit or miss, but at least they are still trying new things ("new" also relative). "Mary" sounds like an attempt at a Weezer song, which is just silly in 2010 from a band that is so obviously different. "Back Down South" is too 'country festival' for the band, who've already moved well beyond their roots as a "Southern Rock" act (even while retaining Caleb's mysterious drawl). It's a fair attempt at a rootsy sound but won't play in the arenas the band now calls home. "Mi Amigo" is kind of lame, but manages to slip in a few easy to miss lyrical easter eggs. I'll let you find those yourself.
"No Money" puts the album in perspective (ironically, because get it? KoL have lots of money). It's brash, bright, quick footed, and bass heavy, all of the things that make KOL enjoyable to the average person, and the reason they sell records despite the anti-hype. We're not saying KOL is the band of the year, but for all the jokes and accusations of being boring lame sauce and basically a giant bunch of fakers, you'll be disappointed and downright wrong if you're looking for the worst album of the month, let alone all time.
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Kings Of Leon on Myspace