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Kings of Leon 'come around' for their fifth studio album: A review

KOL new album
KOL new albumDan Winters

Kings of Leon's Come Around Sundown

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The End is only the beginning on Come Around Sundown, the latest from American rock royalty Kings of Leon. Recorded in New York, ironically, this might be the Kings biggest throw back to their southern roots. Back Down South, which is sure to be one of their next singles makes you want to go home again while Mi Amigo and Birthday throw a little country in your face. Never fear, there is no shortage of rock here.

The first seven songs on Come Around Sundown are huge. Each one has enough sonic power to stand alone in any arena they meet and there is a perfect amount of rise and fall among them as a group. Track one which is titled The End, possibly suggests the end of OBTN sounding records? Mary could almost be a reprise of sorts when you first hear it but then it takes an enchanting duwop turn with some twangy, bluesy guitar. The added dreamy background vocals are reminiscent of the days of The Ronettes and the lyrics hint at the how frontman Caleb originally felt about drummer Nathan's nuptuals and cousin Nacho's adventure into fatherhood.

Pyro is a hauntingly beautiful but darker kind of track about man who's dissatisfied with the world he lives in while The Face is arguably about C. Followills soon to be wife. And while Pickup Truck may sound like its going south, it's actually kind of a nice (dare I say) ballad with some surprising synth and organ paired with it.

The back half of the album ranges into some famliar sounding territory but not so familiar that it ever sounds redundant. It's recognizable as the Kings of Leon but they've added (or perhaps brought back) that uummph, for lack of a better term, and grit of that early sawing, garage rock. C. Followills vocals are absolutely stunning and highlighted even more so on this album but it doesn't take away from the apparent talent of the rest of the members. The thumping and intricate bass lines of Jared Followill are ever present and Matthew Followill's makes his fingers move like lightning for some of the tracks. As always, drummer Nathan Followill holds it down behind the kit with his massive arms. Listen to him on Pony Up, enough said. He's got some massive pipes too and he's not phased about working double time for the European tour, as one of his arms is currently in a sling. Also, one can expect to hear the boys take on some new instruments (clavinet or lap steel anyone?) and pray that they make it into the live show.

Come Around Sundown definitely grabs you from the beginning and never quite lets go. Each track brings a little something different to the album but they all coalesce into a collection that is not only powerful, gritty, soulful and rockin' but also quietly beautiful. Some songs may have to slowly grow but one thing is for sure, they've outdone themselves once again and show no signs of stopping.

The exclusive edition of Come Around Sundown gives the listener a remixed version of Closer from the last album that highlights the vocals in an eerily awesome way, a version of Radioactive that features the West Angeles Mass Choir, and a song called Celebration that is a heavy and kind of punk sounding with shrieks reminiscent of Charmer and an early Robert Plant. Definitley worth the extra three dollars.

Come Around Sundown is available starting today for download or purchase. To see the Kings track by track process for Come Around Sundown check the band's official website for The Come Around Sundown Interview series or see them grouped together with other recent interviews at Closer to Kol.

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