I’m still not quite sure how the KINGS OF LEON became as big as they have, but judging from the little rant that frontman Caleb Followill embarked on at the 2009 READING FESTIVAL in the UK, the band might be just as confused. Sure, “Sex on Fire” and “Use Somebody” managed to wet the panties of thousands of women around the world, but is the band really that good? With armloads of GRAMMY’s, and Victoria’s Secret models to be banged, there’s certainly signs that fame has caused an inflammation of ego for the Kings. On the other hand, isn’t massive acclaim, award statuettes, and being surrounded by women what the rock n roll dream is all about? For the future, just sprinkle in a heavy coke addiction, a couple of crashed cars, an album that bombs, and some internal band turmoil, and the VH1 BEHIND THE MUSIC will be written and ready to roll.
On COME AROUND SUNDOWN, their fifth studio album (out October 19th via RCA), the Nashville rockers have to prove that ONLY BY THE NIGHT wasn’t a one-off fluke, and that they’re still relevant, with more to offer.
Opening with “The End,” ‘SUNDOWN begins as a direct continuation of ‘NIGHT, offering listeners more of the same. The tempo kicks up on “Radioactive,” which bears musical similarity to SILVERSUN PICKUPS, while Caleb’s vocals express emotion and melody that sounds a bit more genuine than Kings of old.
“Mary” is an interesting number that recalls a bit of an old-school Sun Records influence at times – mid tempo, danceable, and a solid Chuck Berry-style lead break toward the end.
“Beach Side” is this album’s “Sex on Fire,” bound to spawn the single, the video, and enhance countless sloppy, alcohol-drenched one-night-stands in small towns and college campuses for the next year.
Despite some positive moments in the aforementioned tracks, there’s so much filler that sounds so much like their last record, by the time the album wraps with “Pickup Truck,” the band has already slowed to a crawl, much like witnessing the final moments before your local bar closes up shop for the night. The band gets slower, the crowd is thin, and all that’s left is four guys on stage wondering how they got there in the first place.
COME AROUND SUNDOWN is a step-up from the audio trickery that was ‘NIGHT (trickery: as in making people think that they actually like it), but there’s still a very unsettling feeling while listening to this, as if the band is not sincere, not genuine, and producing music if only due to being contractually obligated to do so. Competent players for sure, but soulless in delivery – like a band of robots just going through the motions once more.