Thursday, 26 September 2013
REVIEW: KINGS OF LEON-MECHANICAL BULL
When the Kings Of Leon came straight out of Nashville, Tennessee with long hair and two great underground long play albums between 2003 and '04 in the form of 'Youth & Young Manhood' and 'Aha Shake Heartbreak' ,it was clear to hear that the modern rock sound was moving back to the bootcut jeans and leather strapped boots of good old hard-working American guitar music. 'Because Of The Times' took them further into the mainstream before the hair was cut and the sex was on fire for the massive single and album 'Only By The Night' , which remains one of the biggest albums in popularity and sales of the first decade of the new millennium. The stellar sound continued on 'Come Around Sundown' even though some critics cooled and dawned on the band. Then between drink, fights and bust ups everyone thought this band was broken up and done, but like the relationships they sing about there was always hope and now the kings return three years later to ride the wave of 'Mechanical Bull', hoping to find some sixth album sense and stay on there fans minds like neighbouring Georgia.
Willie Nelson would be a fan of these country boys and their tavern ready sound that continues to rock and roll like green bottled beer on 'Bull'. Anything but mechanical, this bands roadside rest-stop sound is the best driving music for road warriors bar none. On the opening spray of 'Supersoaker', the bands lead single lights up like the neon album artwork, confirming their shot and return to the big time. 'Rock City' is a kiss to the same idea, while 'Don't Matter' evokes chills and lines like "Such a swine, lips like wine but it don't matter to me/Take a turn before i burn and it don't matter to me/Last day get up anyway but it don't matter to me/I'll perform i'll be fine but it don't matter to me". Even if this band have lost some attention they still find that attentive lyrical detail that makes them one of the deepest rock bands of modern America and music. 'Beautiful War' continues this ugly fight back to the top as Followill sings with his brothers, "Your heart breaks/Rolls down the window/I've seen it all go and comeback around/And I've heard the sound/Tip of your tongue/The top of your lungs/Is doing my head in/I say love I don't need nothing/Left them something worth fighting for/It's a beautiful war".
Their signature sound gets in our heads further with the pressing 'Temple', while the second single 'Wait For Me' is what the eagerly anticipated fans have been waiting for. There may not be any burning loins here, but moving away from their biggest hit the band show us who they really are. 'Family Tree' discovers those roots further before 'Comeback Story' writes the return of these kings back to their throne. The crowning moment here is honest couplets like, "Picking up the pieces of the world I know/With one in the fire and one in the snow", "I've been told believing everything is all right/I break with the day and I've been with the night", "The bright of the lights they're burning me out/Everyone says it's a lovely sound/I don't know where they are leading me/Trying my best hoping that you'll see" and "You'll rue the day when you understand/I did my best to be an honest man/Race isn't over until the finish line/It's a comeback story of a lifetime". As our leading man sings happier then he's ever sounded it's clear our writer knows where he's been and where he's going.
Taking his band with him, 'Tonight' takes you to the evocative awakenings of a perfect evening traversing the real vaganbond heartland of real America. 'Coming Back Again' take us around and around this checked shirt and full beard sound, before the last chop of 'On The Chin' is the perfect hit to take you home. If you can't take that then the deeper deluxe edition of this album gives you the extra 'Work On Me' and the final encore of 'Last Mile Home', where Leon's leader Caleb sings "Take it back I never meant it/Never thought that it would come to pass/Baby know it's not forgotten/Baby know that this is gonna last", before closing this album and the bands return with the perfect, fitting statement, "Things are always better/When we're all together". It's great that the band are back and sounding the same. Sure, there may be nothing new here but this is what the fans wanted...more of the band they actually love. 'Sex On Fire' was a great and different experience but the morning after led the band down an unfaithful road. Taking the 'Mechanical Bull' by the horns they stay on their right highway, turning the wheel through the fork on the road and heading into the sunset of a right direction. Rolling and riding until everyone tunes the radio into what they need to hear. The kings back on their throne. TIM DAVID HARVEY.