Kings of Leon

Kings of Leon

Kings of Leon

Only by the Night

RCA / Sony

Tennessee’s favorite sons return to Walmart, Best Buy, iTunes and the last remaining few mom & pop music outlets this fall with their latest collection of Jesus-meets-Jack Daniels inspired gems. Although their 2007 effort Because Of The Times was touted by some in the rock press as exemplifying the band’s musical peak, Only By The Night proves that KOL are nowhere near hitting the ceiling.

Absent from this record is longtime KOL producer Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams, Jayhawks, Rufus Wainright) whose “first chair” duties are now being handled on Only by the Night by longtime KOL co-producer and co-songwriter Angelo Petrolia (Tim McGraw, Brooks & Dunn, Kim Richey).

Recorded in Nashville, Only by the Night kicks off with the haunting “Closer.” Although Caleb Followill’s vocals are considerably more distinguishable this time around, an interpreter is still needed at times. “Crawl” possesses an energy reminiscent of U2’s Achtung Baby and along with “Use Somebody” and the infectious lead single “Sex on Fire” makes for one of the record’s many highlights.

Not to be musically pigeonholed with the likes of such current teen-pop poster boys as Fallout Boy or Panic! At The Disco, KOL prove with this, their fourth offering, to still be one of the most unique and genuinely compelling bands on today’s pop/rock landscape.

Although they’re hailed as gods abroad and despite their several recent Grammy nominations, KOL still haven’t quite grasped the ol’ brass ring here in the United States. In fact, guitarist Matthew Followill’s and bassist Jared Followill’s continued innovative performances on tracks like “Manhattan” and “17” combined with Caleb’s over all signature mush-mouth vocal style and Nathan Followill’s daredevil approach to drumming may actually make KOL too good for mass US consumption.

Despite their continued musical growth on Only By The Night, “Revelry” and “Be Somebody” possess similar flavors to those heard on 2004’s Aha Shake Heartbreak. And “I Want You” showcases classic KOL storytelling, standing out as the record’s crowning jewel.

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