Sound — 10
Some say these guys are just the Strokes with beards. They aren't. For one, Kings of Leon have a helluva vocalist called Caleb Followill, with a voice that sounds about 30 years older than he actually is. It's a sort of country/folk rock these guys are going for on this, their debut record, and it sounds to me like they've nailed it. Lead guitarist Matthew Followill (they're all related)pulls off some cracking solos on just about every song, only deviating from standard tuning on 2 songs (Happy Alone & Genius), while the bass riff on Joe's Head just blows you away. Nathan Followill keeps it good and simple on the drums; he makes himself noticed in Red Morning Light by drumming with what sounds like a kettle. Anyway, the connection between the brothers (and cousin) is electric, owing to their childhood spent together entirely on the road with their Preacher father (called Leon, hence the band's name).
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics, although sometimes hard to understand given Caleb's nasal twangy voice, do show themselves worthy of recognition. As the record's title suggests, the songs do deal with Youth & Young Manhood - sexual confusion in songs like Trani and Happy Alone ("Wearing Your Cherry Lipstick") crops up, as well as murder (Joe's Head), and people's sometimes ludicrous expectations of their children (Genius). Some might not like the spoken-word style of Wasted Time, but the sheer brilliance of the playing on that song won me over after a while. Not exactly Dylan-esque poetry in the lyrics, but the great southern character of Caleb's voice and the attitude behind it drives each song along flawlessly.
Overall Impression — 10
There isn't a single song I don't love on this album - hang on as well at the end of Holy Roller Novocaine as well for a hidden track called Talihina Skies - you'll have to fast forward a bit because of the six-minutes silence that follows Holy Roller but it's worth it, trust me. So is buying this album. If it were stolen. Well, it wouldn't get stolen, because the theif would have to first pry it from my CD player without me noticing, because it is constantly in there. I would buy it again a million times - but since i have the limited edition CD sleeve, it might not be the same. I have to be honest and say that I couldn't hate anything about it except the sleeve notes: ie. there aren't any, just pictures of the band. Perhaps next time they could put a little paper hat Kings of Leon hat in there? In conclusion, this album is an essential for any self-respecting music-lover - put aside assumptions of all Southern boys being inbred rednecks. They out-class, out-play, and generally out-rock every other contemporary band (that includes the Darkness; fan as i am of their work, they don't know the value of sleeve design or tight group playing). Listen and learn the ways of rock and roll. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you. Youth & Young Manhood.