I was wary when I was asked to write a review for Kings of Leon’s new album Come Around Sundown
The main reason was simply because I was so unfamiliar with Kings of Leon; all I knew was that the band was responsible for “Use Somebody,” that amazingly ubiquitous single from their 2008 album Only by the Night
Not only did the song hog the charts for more than 50 weeks, but it probably wormed its way into people’s heads for much longer.
I don’t even remember if I ever originally liked Kings of Leon upon hearing them for the first time. After the umpteenth hearing of that one single, I was fairly sure I never wanted to hear anything by that band again in my life.
But, just like most other groups, Kings of Leon’s more famous and frequently-played songs are not representative of their best work or their range.
With Come Around Sundown
the band delivers an impressive new entry into their discography. While not nearly as repetitive or as generically “alt-rock” as their former singles, the tracks nevertheless retain a mainstream vibe.
Each track employs a variety of different sounds and musical textures, allowing them to stand apart from one another and create their own distinctive atmosphere.
Some songs, such as “Back Down South,” express a folksy vibe, while others, like “Mary,” maintain a retro, swing sound. The band also blends together synthesizer with more traditional rock instruments, while expertly layering together multiple melodies for a complex, interesting sound that never strays from harmony.
But some aspects of Come Around Sundown
hearken back to Kings of Leon’s previous work — namely, that the music lingers in your head long after the song stops playing.
Lead singer Caleb Followill’s throaty croon provides the album with a highly distinctive accompaniment to its catchy hooks and explosive choruses.
Many of the songs, like the opening track, “The End,” are the types of songs that stick in your head after only one listen.
However, the memorable quality of the songs might speak to certain shortcomings of the album as well.
Despite the songs’ inherent catchiness, the choruses often feel repetitive at times, which reminds me of the radio-rock formula that made “Use Somebody” such a bland and cloying production.
All things considered, Come Around Sundown
is an highly ambitious album that deserves acclaim for its sheer audacity.
Most of the songs are ripe with husky vocals, simple and memorable lyrics and catchy bluesy tunes that will remind fans of what made Kings of Leon famous to begin with.
The band successfully recreates their different alternative rock sound on this album — one that is difficult to forget whether you like it or not.
This album will likely be well-received by fans, so perhaps it would be in your best interest to mentally prepare for the imminent radio onslaught of these songs for — oh, say — just about the next two years or so.
— Contact Catherine Cai.