I was flicking through the NME about 3 years ago now when I came across an section of the magazine that had been dedicated to an upcoming American band called Kings Of Leon. There was a photo of the band underneath the title of 'What King Of Leon Look Like Without A Drink' or something stupid like that. The photo then pointed out signs of the band's 'blank looks' and 'sober eyes'. Yes this is the NME I'am talking about, the same NME that helped Sex Pistols, The Smiths and Oasis crack the mainstream. Now there showing us what a bunch of Americans look like without a beer.
If you thought that was so stupid and pointless, you should listen to the Kings of Leon themselfs. Think Lynard Skynard with an iPod. Their basically a modern day Country Blues act. There's no real progession in their sound and there lyrics are often unbearable yet they've sold a ton of records and get the NME seal of approvel.
Sure they are some moments of greatness. 'California Waiting', 'Red Morning Light' and 'Molly's Chambers' are both packed at the seems with energy even if there not the most lyrically special of tracks (the chorus to 'Molly's Chambers' is basically made up of words that rhythm with ''moma''). But when a track as urgent as 'Red Morning Light' hits you, you don't really care about the song's meaning you just go with the flow. This is all well and good but the Kings barely change the structure. Every track is a ramshackle Blues Rock song. Apart from the lo-fi 'Dusty' and the horribly titled 'Trani'. The latter been a slow- tempoted, slow- burning Soul song with the intention to show off the King's softer side. Instead it shows how boring this band really are. Clocking in at just over five minutes long, 'Trani' is drags on terribly with it's bland Guitar strumming and repeative Drumming all topped off by Caleb's whining vocals. 'Trani' is made worse by the fact that it's sandwiched between two fast paced Rock tracks like 'California Waiting' and 'Joe's Head', making 'Trani' more of a unwanted interlude than a Soulful chill out.
What really bores you with the Kings is their sound, That Blues- tinged Country Rock sound you've heard a million times over. They sound like the Rolling Stones without the swagger or attitude or The Who after too much Moon Shine. But Caleb Followill is no Mick Jagger or Roger Daltrey. His vocals are bland and lazy with the often outburst of demanted howling and confused rambling. It's not enjoyable or progessive it's just plain stupid. And the lyrics aren't that mind blowing either, they lack intent and thought and instead sound like they could be sung by a 40 year old Pub singer. 'Happy Alone' could be the jolly, fuzzy Pop strum-along it first starts out to be - but it's killed by awful singing and dreadful lyrics (''I'm gonna tangle my face hair, it's gonna tickle your daughter, At 3 o' Clock and the moaning, they all cry to me, I'l; be prancin' around in my high heels, and your cherry red lipstick''
). No I don't know either. Things fail to pick up Lyric-wise on 'Joe's Head' (''This is just the way of the world Joe said, I had to put a bullet into his head, Then lit up a cigarette, decided to call his fat friend fred''
. Bob Dylan should not feel threaten. 'Spiral Staircase' is a strong contender for worst track on the album. Caleb sounds like a hyperactive Donald Duck and the lyrics are completly pointless (''Spiral Staircase going down, paint your body red and brown''
But thankful we are saved by 'Molly Chamber's', the album's second single (and a pretty big hit too) and one of it's very few highlights. It's a short sharp and dirty Rock n' Roll song. The vocals aren't a off-put and the Guitar work is very catchy and enjoyble, if the rest of 'Youth And Young Manhood' was like this I would be a very happy listener. The album's other big hit single is 'Wasted Time' a half decent track ruined by Caleb mumled vocals (that guy can't do anything right can he) but it has moments of greatness when the Guitars screech and the Drums speed up and you forget how bad the Kings can be.
The album's closer 'Holy Roller Novocaine' is just what you'd expect to finish the album off. It's another slow-burning Blues-tinged track with dumb pointless lyrics and the odd outburst of demanted vocals and loud dymamics. I'd write something interesting about the track but to be honest I lost interest half away though and started feeling rather bummed out that I decided to buy this instead of the new José Gonzŕlez record. But that's a different story.
Kings Of Leon are a band who split people down the middle. Some people love their worry- free Blues Rock whlist others who search for something deeper and more meaningful will be left in the cold. The main problem is the Kings don't seems to have an original idea between them plus they seem to be marooned in a world of trashy lyrics and retarded vocals and desperately need to be saved.
+ Some decent tracks
+ Guitars are often catchy and refreshing
+ The Cd was half price
- Terrible Vocals
- Dreadful Lyrics
Red Morning Light
Thanks For Reading!