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Review: Kings of Leon Try to Recapture The Magic of Old

Once upon a time, Kings of Leon were just a regular band of dudes who had a typical pop culture problem. They shared the classic conundrum with so many others: They were massive in the UK but were hardly a name thrown around by a casual music fan, let alone by any clerks in fan-boy record stores here in the states. Somehow, within the last few years, cough *sold their souls to Satan* cough, Kings of Leon have become one of the biggest rock acts in the whole world and a household name.

On their new album, “Come Around Sundown” the boys from Tennessee are treading on familiar territory where the streets are paved with dollar bills and hit singles. “Come Around Sundown” is a mildly larger expanse into the bankable method discovered on the mega-successful “Only by Night.” Every song is sonically milked to its fullest capabilities to be an arena monolith and some results are better than others.

It’s 13 tracks of warm, radio friendly alt-rock that could be played anywhere from a dentist’s office to a teenage girl’s sedan. The tracks are essentially the kind of musical, vanilla obliqueness that mothers won’t bitch about it while letting the adolescent listener feel like somewhat of a bad ass, even though there is nothing “edgy” about the content whatsoever.

Granted, the songs have a slightly larger scope in terms of credibility within the mechanical and structural ideas. There’s more Radiohead than Black Keys on “Come around sundown.” It’s not that the Black Keys are not great, but some layers of sound ala Radiohead, isn’t a terrible thing. It takes a solid band to see those kinds of patterns and use them for good, instead of evil.

On the track, “Back Down South” there is more of a country feel that is of the older style Kings of Leon prescribed to pre-success while “No money” tries exceedingly hard to recapture of the “Use Somebody” school of thought.

As much as logic dictates to say it’s terrible and you have no taste for liking the Kings of Leon, I can’t say that. It’s not the album of 2010 or 2011. It’s a follow up to a mega-seller. It’s capable of putting asses in seats in arena’s, while allowing the band who are clearly sick of playing “Sex on fire” a chance to make a few fans want to hear something else.

Overall, the album will sell a lot of copies while dj’s at top 40 station will continue to overplay a band who’s arguably the next incarnation of Matchbox 20, but with soul.

No one wants to be Rob Thomas.

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