20080923

It's Good to be King


You've gotta admit, Kings of Leon have it pretty sweet. Somehow they've managed to steadily gain both critical and popular acclaim, building both indie cred and mainstream love simultaneously. This is because I believe Kings of Leon have stumbled upon the golden mean* of the music industry. Three brothers and first cousin Followill, all from Tennessee, becoming ambassadors for their family namesake (The bros' father and grandfather named Leon) make for a pretty adorable backstory. But more importantly, the Kings are blessed with a specialness that manifests itself most obviously in the fire-and-honey voice of Caleb Followill and his ridiculous sense of melody. While his blazing vocals clear a trail, the talented band falls in behind. Matthew draping signature reverb-drenched guitar licks, Nathan displaying impreccable taste behind the drums, Jared's basslines becoming dynamic solos to themselves.

Only By the Night
represents the pinnacle of the Kings' songwriting experience to this point, an album chock-full of digestible morsels under 4 minutes (though none under 3). This mostly is absolute mastery of the mid-tempo emotional rock song, though stabs are taken into the faster-paced rock of Aha Shake Heartbreak ("Sex on Fire") while the fuzzy-distortion-soaked anthem of "Crawl" feels out of place by comparison. Despite that, over the entire running length of Night, it becomes apparent that Kings of Leon are a band embracing their hype with confidence and aplomb.

Together, this true American family band crafts genre-spanning gems that contain plenty of hooks to snag radio play, plenty of depth to satisfy the snobs, and enough moxy to grab even the most skeptical outsider.

It's good to be King.

Listen:
Manhatten
Notion
[from Only By the Night|buy]

*Aristotle's theory on the desirable middle ground between excess and deficiency.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally I love the new album but they're getting hammered by all the music snobs, errr, critics I mean.

9:42 AM  

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