Sound — 10
To have Noel Gallagher in the fanbase by itself means something. Just avoid him cursing you over means a lot, I'm not even talking about being something he actually likes! Thus Kings Of Leon should be genius musicians to pass the test. Their third album quite proves the fact. Named after a United Pentecostal Church ministers' conference that Followill brothers attend, Because Of The Times is out April 3rd on RCA. Yes, they still sound raw and original, producing amazing experimental guitar riffs and harmonies that made Kings Of Leon famous with their debut Holy Roller Novocaine EP. The guitars by Matthew Followill define the level of dynamics, being very extcentric and spontanious along with drums. As a fan of Matthew R. Hudson Nathan Followill just couldn't go with a plain rock'n'roll rhythm. He flavors the songs with some very interesting drum parts, the most tasteful of those could be a drum solo in Mc Fearless. It's such a weird mix of styles -- country rock, new wave, blues that you are happy to find any obvious influences. Like reggae-styled Ragoo with creaking guitars instead of quaking ones and clear bells. There are enough of U2-sounding tracks and the guys are really into reverbs this time -- guitars, vocals, whatever else can be echoed. A lot of tracks are anthems for a revolt, while a few others are touchy and soft. Folksy The Runner, made in a classical waltz rhythm, could make a pretty good lullaby with Caleb singing in a yawning manner like an old farmer. With gospel-like chorals at the end to add a finishing touch.
Lyrics — 8
Being obsessed with church, Kings Of Leon find inspiration in sins. What could be the worst and most desirable sin for a rock musician than a fallen angel aka woman? It's actually the same thing everybody sings about, but from a different point of view. They warn you from all kinds of different temptations you can find along the way -- like girls stealing your karma or getting pregnant from you. It would be hard to call the lyrics a poetry. It is more likely a few lines to fill music with sense, the most vivid of which is a story about a cowboy's girl who's gonna have his baby. An intriguing drama takes place in the opening 7-minute epic track Knocked Up. Everything is very simple and very strict -- they don't need too many words to express themselves. He might have not the strongest voice out there and not even be able to hit all the higher notes, but Caleb Followill knows what to sing to make the song sound great. Caleb is crooning, yelling high-pitched, drawling with soar -- all just to create the mood of the song. Every track gets a different approach, but always an impassionate one.
Overall Impression — 10
That might take you a few listens to like Because Of The Times if it's your first Kings Of Leon record. But even if you're a huge fan, still the more you listen to it, the more you appreciate it. The record smoothly flows from one track to another, fully taking control of your emotions -- from peaceful to loud then from riot to swing. Kings Of Leon have crafted their own distinctive sound and managed to carry it from album into album, staying interesting and yet fresh. The whole record sounds so solid and smooth that it's actually hard to say that anything could have been done better. I think everybody else have acclaimed the record already, including The Rolling Stone. So, now it seems like my turn... A very likely to become an album of the year kind of thing!