With 2008’s “Only by The Night,” southern rock band Kings Of Leon laid the groundwork for what should be an illustrious career path. With the summer anthem “Sex On Fire” and the classic “Use Somebody” filling up the radio airwaves and with the album going platinum, KOL almost seemed to be everywhere. And even though the album came out nearly 2 years ago, some might be surprised that the band is releasing an entire new body of work so soon. But truthfully, this album comes along at a perfect time. With a lackluster summer that was slow for rock bands, this album takes off right where “Only By The Night” left off and expands the horizon for Kings.
With time, Kings Of Leon have morphed from a grungy southern-fried band into a modern rock anthem band. With “Come Around Sundown”, they seem to be embracing their arena rock sound and shadowing the greatest arena band of our time, U2. Take almost any song from this album and play it in a concert setting and I imagine the tracks soar. Layered guitar work, blistering drums and the classic vocal of Caleb Followill are all KOL staples and in several tracks, I can easily hear the influence of Bono and the boys. In “The Immortals”, I can almost hear Matthew Followill channeling The Edge in his guitar work. And in “The Pickup Truck”, I can imagine a Bono & Followill duet.
But all comparisons aside, Kings Of Leon are obviously their own band and they have definitely found their sweet spot. Time will tell whether this album will be as memorable as “Only by The Night.” Certainly there isn’t a “Sex On Fire” on this album but I would argue it’s just as strong and more consistent than it’s predecessor. It’s a little mellower and not quite as rocking, but still retains it’s rock genre street cred. Tracks like “Beach Side”, “Birthday” and “Radioactive” are radio friendly and “The End” and “No Money”(the rockingest track on the album) will be big fan favorites when performed live in concerts. The only stumbling point is the country-tinged “Back Down South.” With it’s steel guitar and hand-clapping bass, it’s an odd choice that it was included on the album. I can see it maybe as a B-side or something, but it sticks out like a sore thumb here. I realize the band is from Tennessee, but they should leave the country where it belongs and stick to their strengths. And their strength is very much the rock anthem and on this album they have done that very well. I highly recommend “Come Around Sundown” and this only goes to show that Kings Of Leon are not a one-trick pony. The Followill’s are here to stay and will be rockin’ for many years to come!