Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Album review - Kings of Leon 'Come Around Sundown'

Kings of Leon
‘Come Around Sundown’

THERE IS an argument that the Kings of Leon could be considered rock’s version of Wayne Rooney (indulge me here); substitute Croxteth for Tennessee; both were snarling, street-smart and dragged up by their bootstraps as youngsters; both subsequently had their heads turned with the price of money, fame and idolatry (substitute Paul Stretford for Bono as you wish); both threatened to be world-beaters, but have seen their careers level off in recent years.
Hang on, I hear you say, haven’t the Southern rockers sold truckloads of records more since they went mainstream? Yes is the answer, but at what cost?
I must admit to listening to this new Kings record - their fifth - with a heavy-heart. There is little to suggest that the four-piece have cast a knowing glance at their superb, world-beating back catalogue and tried to find out where they lost that urgent, adolescent, grubby rock and roll vibe and replaced it with bland, stadium rock anthems.
However, when you allow this record to sink in (rather grudgingly as a result), it starts to re-engage you; where the Kings have lost their Southern drawl, screeching guitars and dirty, scuzzy rhythms, they have replaced it with an album that is actually quite introspective, thought provoking and tender, in parts at least.
Gone from this offering, thankfully, are the woeful Sex on Fire/Use Somebody-type tracks of predecessor Only By The Night, and present are the brooding, oft-dark and rebellious The End and Radioactive; the grungy The Immortals, the serene Pyro.
A highlight is the lap-steel and violin driven Back Down South, full of handclaps and gospel choirs, cat-calls and back-slapping; while the brassy groove of Mi Amigo is superb.
They may not have hit the heights of yesteryear, but they have gone some way toward redeeming their careers on this offering - and may yet hit the back of the net again in the future. RATING 3/5

No comments: