Saturday, 16 October 2010

Kings of Leon - Come Around Sundown

I feel a heavy responsibility reviewing the latest Kings of Leon album, Come Around Sundown. Such are the giddying levels to which they have been exalted I’m worried that if I reveal any cracks in their armour then I will be dragged off to the gallows by a couple of check-shirted heavies, screaming at the top of my lungs, “I think they’ve got progressively worse! They will never top Youth and Young Manhood! Death to Sex on Fire!”

My typically haphazard theory is that there are two types of Kings of Leon fan: Those who love their first two albums with sheer bloody stubborness and those who, in their delusion, think they define all that is great about the Indie genre. If you are of the former grouping Come Around Sundown will be another disappointment, another splintered wedge driven between you and the band you used to adore. If you are the latter, be prepared to part with your hard-earned cash as you will be buying this album. No, you will.

The most striking feature on listening to the album is that there is no progression from their previous two efforts. The vast, widescreen guitars are still there as are the soaring choruses and the meaty, slowed down drums. The album's title is almost beckoning the time of day when it should be played, preferably in a big field as woozy accountants sway from side to side wondering where they left their expensive sandals.

New single Radioactive is probably as good as it gets. Alongside the soul-pop of Beach Side, and the inbred funk of Pony Up, these are the real anomalies on the record. The rest of the album (yes, I am willing to lump a lot of it together) is so defiantly predictable as to be completely audacious.

The sluggish tempos of The Face, No Money and Mi Amigo all have the feel of songs which get undeserved airtime at a barbeque when nobody is manning the iPod. The End and The Immortals are likely to eat up stadiums such is their mammoth production. The album plumbs its most upsetting depth with Mary, a gammy carthorse of a song which could fester smugly in Rod Stewart’s back catalogue.

The point is it’s all so textbook. It is the sound of a band who haven’t been exposed to the danger which informed their first album so brilliantly, the sound of band who always get what they want. Musically, this is their Fat Elvis period The decline continues.