When the Kings of Leon emerged into the rock/ indie scene, eyebrows were raised so high they nearly reached the top of one’s head. What an entrance they made, with “Youth & Young Manhood,” following the ice-breaking single “Red Morning Light.”
What made them stand out from their fellow musicians, however, were the beards and the hair. Having cut their hair and shaved their beards, the Kings are back with an altogether more powerful album than its forever-praised predecessor.
The Tennessee family foursome raised as sons of a preacher man deliver an outstanding second album with brand-new raving guitar riffs. Caleb Followill’s voice sounds like silky cream on sandpaper as he belts out “Day Old Blues” (he actually yodels, too). Cousin Matthew Followill’s lead guitar is impressive when mixed with Jared’s fast-moving bass playing which is especially highlighted in “Razz.” It is clear that drummer Nathan Followill has definitely learned some new tricks as his techniques differ with the mood of the music.
The album definitely has depth. Comparing the Kings of Leon to the Strokes is not an incomprehensible association; listen to the beginning of “Soft” with its upbeat rhythm and Strokes-like guitar style. The song highlights the progress the Kings have made not only in their musicality but also in their writing.
Overall, this is an impressive second album which drips with confidence. The Kings of Leon are still experimenting with different styles and as far as I can tell, they are doing a fantastic job.
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