Kings of Leon-Because of the Times

With a seven minute opening track the kings are well and truly back extending their southern drawl rock a little further on from previous albums. When the woozy blues of ‘knocked up’ has faded it staggers into ‘charmer’ before finding lead single ‘on call’ with its ‘be there’ refrain and catchy chug chug guitar. If you were missing the throaty vocal style of the past then it returns on ‘McFearless’ all strained and sounding like strong over smoked cigarettes are the order of the day. With the guitars suitably fuzzed up ‘black thumbnail’ has all the balls of Springsteen with an Americana induced opening few bars that makes you want to drink whisky in a dusty bar with the boys as soon as they have finished the feed backed laden lead guitar break. Apart from the opener there isn’t a song here that last more than three or four minutes and they are delivered like dirty snake bites of blues/rock getting into your bloodstream before you have chance to think about it. ‘my party’ demands volume and a keg of cheap beer to down as it washes over you with its backwater charm and then ‘true love way’ arrives as the albums slower tune catching your eye across a smoke filled pool hall and approaching you slowly but with third album confidence. ‘ragoo’ despite having nothing to do with pasta sauce keeps the vibe on the low-down before the acoustically tinged and ultra catchy ‘fans’, which is surely a contender for second single, sweeps in like Razorlight’s America’s older unshaven brother. ‘The runner’ is good but an obvious three quarter in album fodder track and the mini gospel outro feels out of place. ‘Trunk’ struts into town looking for trouble and could easily sit on a film soundtrack between the ‘Band’ and ‘Ry Cooder’ it cool and it knows it. ‘camaro’ has a guitar lick straight out of the seventies and bursts with energy that takes you back to the young kings who made ‘youth and young manhood’ before showing you how far they have come as musicians and songwriters with album closer ‘Arizona’ that oozes sleaze and says its time at the bar. At just under an hour you have been treated to a trip down musical memory lane southern style and it does make you want more, so pull up a stool, tell the barman to leave the whole bottle and press repeat. Truly kings among men.   

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