Kings of Leon: Come Around Sundown


RIYL: U2, Lynryd Skynrd, The Allman Brothers

Kings of Leon must be happy that they’re no longer being called the next big thing. Their breakthrough album, Only by the Night, which featured the hits “Sex on Fire” and the Grammy nominated “Use Somebody,” put them front and center on the radio and made them stars. Now, with the release of Come Around Sundown, there are some news outlets calling this record their U2 moment. The thinking is that like The Joshua Tree did for the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Famers from Ireland, Come Around Sundown will propel the Kings into another stratosphere.  It’s certainly possible, but I’m not a hundred percent sold on that idea.

The new album will most definitely please anyone who just discovered the band with Only by the Night.  The songs throughout Come Around Sundown have the same power and aching moan that made its predecessor so successful. There’s no doubt that the guys in this band know how to write a great rock hook, as the new single “Radioactive” proves tenfold. Moreover, there are several songs on this album that will make fine additions to radio playlists and will translate just fine on stage, blending seamlessly with the Kings older material. I can certainly hear “The End,” “Mary” and “Pony Up” as hit songs.

However, there are points in the album in which singer Caleb Followill’s voice really starts to wear thin and the chiming guitars start to grow tiresome, primarily in the middle section of songs. However, things return to form as the record winds down, in particular with the lovely song, “Birthday.” Anyone strictly familiar with the bands radio hits will love this song. There is real depth and power on Come Around Sundown that makes it a remarkable record, despite its few flaws.

I’m not sure Kings of Leon will ever become one of the most important rock bands in the world; U2 is still around to hold that title. Until Bono and the Edge decide to hang it up, Kings of Leon will just have to remain one of the best American bands of the 21st Century. (RCA 2010)

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