Review : Kings Of Leon - Only By The Night
GuardianWhen, exactly, did classic rock become fashionable again? Whatever the tipping point was, we now, officially, approve of Kid Rock reviving 'Sweet Home Alabama', the Hold Steady reviving 'Born to Run'-era Springsteen, and men all over Britain reviving the right to play air guitar in public places. All that's missing in this entertaining glorification of the pleasures of cock-rock is a big, American major label rawk! album that boogies, choogles, howls at the moon and does it all with an absolutely straight face, no irony intended, no guilt entertained.
Cue the return of Kings of Leon, who, right from the get-go, were surely the band born to bring Proper Rock out of the spandex-clad Darkness and into a more dapper light. Only by the Night is the record we thought they were going to make when we first saw pictures of them way back in 2003, only to be confused when the mustachioed Tennessee brothers (and cousin) were less like the Allman Brothers and more like the Strokes....full text
SputnikmusicThe curious thing about claiming the title of 'most improved' is that it means admitting two things; that you once sucked, and that if you want to be considered truly great then it means that you need to keep improving. This is how posterity meets Kings of Leon in 2008 - unquestionably 2007's most improved band, their last album Because of the Times was so exciting and surprising not just because it came from a band who were previously so incompetent, but also because it appeared to promise that the necessary upward curve would undoubtedly follow. For a band who'd had a hit single with a song containing just two notes, and a singer who had been doing a seriously convincing impression of somebody who can't sing, that was crucial. Because of the Times was no one-shot wonder album that left the band with nowhere to go; it genuinely sounded like a step on the way to bigger things.
The headline spot at this year's Glastonbury noted as an aside, those bigger things have arrived with Only by the Night. Literally everything about this record is bigger than all its predecessors - the melodic scope, the ambition, the production, the lyrical range, the pool of influences, the lot. And accordingly, it's better to boot, with each of the first six songs outstanding in its own right. Opening track "Closer" rides a Tom Morello-in-Audioslave-ballad-mode guitar line to stunning effect, "Crawl" is a glammy relative of The Who's "The Seeker", "Sex on Fire" is one of the most immediately arresting singles released all year, "Use Somebody" is a tender, big-hearted ballad that works as an approximation of what Coldplay's Parachutes might have sounded like if it had the ambition and production of Viva la Vida, and so on. And while the quality may slump slightly on one or two later tracks ("I Want You" sets up a good idea and then goes nowhere with it), the highlights of this album come thick and fast. It's always impressive, occasionally breathtaking....full text
UncutWhen the Kings Of Leon recorded their Holy Roller Novocaine EP in 2002, they were musical novices ranging in age from 15 to 22, but they possessed amazing instincts, fueled by their shared DNA. In the six years since, the four Followills – three brothers and a cousin – have grown into one of most exciting rock’n’roll bands on the planet, the hand-picked touring partners of U2 and Bob Dylan, no less. And with their third album, 2007’s Because Of The Times, they unleashed a surprising new level of sophistication and daring.
Oldest brother Nathan started whipping up all sorts of dynamic rhythmic counterpoints on every part of his kit, while kid brother Jared unleashed, thick, shuddering, super-melodic bass lines that meshed with Nathan’s hell-bent pummeling like Velcro. Cousin Matthew, meanwhile, took his guitar and effects pedals into all sorts of intriguing places, bringing atmosphere as well as edge, slicing through the carnivorous grooves as if his Gibson were a Ginsu knife. But they had the good sense to counterbalance their sonic explorations with a brace of signature barnburners....full text
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