Friday, October 10, 2008

Kings of Leon, Only By The Night

Recorded in Nashville's Blackbird Studios and produced by Angelo Petraglia, Jaquire King and Kings of Leon themselves, Only By The Night is the fourth album released by the Memphis four-piece. It rounds off a spotless career, one that you'd particularly be able to appreciate if you watched them live. Their best merit so far, has been that of making classic rock acceptable again as they brought almost forgotten heroes like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen to a whole new generation.

Kings of Leon consist of the three Followill brothers, Caleb (voice and guitar), Jared (bass), Nathan (drums) and their cousin Matthew Followill (guitars). Their debut in 2003 was hailed as "the most important cultural statement since Oasis' Definitely Maybe”. Not necessarily a compliment. However, Kings of Leon managed to become that year's revelation, to the point of being asked by both The Strokes and U2 to open their gigs.

Back to 2008 and we learn that Caleb's painkillers helped him write "the best songs of his career". Crawl is certainly one of their finest, an excellent opener with shimmering guitar and tasteful drums. Then comes the amazing Sex on Fire, the first single off the album and a real high gauge rocker. Manhattan takes the band to U2 territory, a place no longer alien to Kings of Leon as they are now respected festival headliners and consumate stadium rockers. The result is great, especially as they manage to pull it off without sounding pompous. The Cold Desert is the perfect closer, with a sound that is together nightmarish and surreal. A great record.

[Only By The Night is out now on RCA]

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