Kings of Leon have three - soon to be four (September 23 I believe for Only By The Night) - really solid albums, and they've managed to change and develop as a band without either going off the rails or making their earlier material seem comparatively weak. If you look back at pictures of 'Youth and Young Manhood'-era Kings of Leon, they're almost unrecognisable:
Compare that to the shorn and honed version of today - pretty far cry, no?
'Honed' definitely seems like the right word. They've turned into a 'proper' rock band, the tunes have got bigger, and the live show as tight as hell. Like the jeans. They played 23 songs in their 90 minutes, opening with a new one ('Crawl'). Sure the set was no-frills; I accidentally mistyped that first time around as "no-thrills", but I don't think that was a meaningful slip, coz personally I found it pretty thrilling, as did 70,000 or however many there were (a lot by all estimates, hence Panic at the Disco's lack of audience over on the Other Stage in the same slot). There just wasn't a bad song in the whole time. I kinda wish they'd play 'Soft', but whatever dude.
I dunno, kinda feels like I'm acting the apologist, because as much as I love them, they still don't quite feel like a headline band at Glastonbury. They have the songs, it's just the sense of theatricality that they're a little light on, and in all probability always will be. But the fact that the crowd seemed to love it kinda suggests that despite this, they don't need any apologising.
Aaaaaaaaanyways - new song, y'all! The new album is definitely something to be excited about. This is what Rolling Stone has to say about Only By The Night:
The first indication this record is ready to kick some ass? It’s got a track called “Sex on Fire” that features kinky lyrics like “I know they’re watching” over twangy bent-note guitars and a thrumming bass groove. That’s just one of the 12 hotwired but extremely loose tracks that range from brawny Zep-style rockers (”Crawl”) to spooked-out blues ballads like “Cold Desert,” on which frontman Caleb howls “Jesus don’t love me/ No one ever carried my load.” The tentatively titled “I’ve Got a Notion” sounds like pure Nineties alt-rock with liquidy guitars reminiscent of Kurt Cobain’s riff from “Come as You Are” and a crystal-clear bassline that’s pure Pixies. Drummer Nathan goes to town on “Seventeen,” a song that dates back to their Aha Shake Heartbreak days and boasts a bunch of massive fills, but one of the better cuts has to be “You Somebody,” a soaring power ballad that strangely enough sounds like a badass version of Journey’s “Faithfully.”
I'm in. Here's Manhattan, live at Glastonbury:
mp3: Kings of Leon - Manhattan