Repeated listens reveal the album’s allure
Kings Of Leon - Come Around Sundown

Sticking with tradition, the Followill clan have delivered a new album in quick succession to the last. But, since ‘Only By The Night’, sent them in the direction of the stratosphere, and yielded a single that broke all iTunes records, how has it affected them, and how will they fare in its wake?

The most discerning repercussion seems to be in the band’s refusal to adhere to the populist vote. There’s no ‘Sex On Fire’ on here for sure. But since the beginning, the Kings have always superseded one style for another with every release, so it’s little surprise these Grammy-winners have defi ed expectations. So, what have they strived for sonically?

Well, it’s a deft, muscular sound hinted at previously on songs like ‘Notion’, where pace is reined in for pristine production, robust rhythms, emotive soundscapes, and compelling lyrics. It takes some getting used to - there’s a similar tempo throughout much of ‘Come Around Sundown’ that initially disappoints - it is a rather safe and conservative progression, admittedly - but repeated listens reveal the album’s allure.

Caleb Followill opens his heart throughout - he sounds yearning; his usual fervid bawls here turn into tender pines. “Everything I cherish is slowly dying or it’s gone”, he sings in ‘Pyro’; “I won’t ever make you cry”, he appeals in the throbbing doo-wop blues of ‘Mary’.

Similarly, guitarist Matthew Followill is responsible for the haunting effects that reflect cousin Caleb’s lamenting - the reverbladen picking of ‘The Face’ or the sluggish strains on ‘Mi Amigo’ often say more than words ever could. Certainly album highlights ‘Back Down South’ and first single ‘Radioactive’ will fit well in the Kings’ live repertoire and appease the fans, but ‘Come Around Sundown’ may just divide that hulking army, the weekend fans dismayed by its lack of immediacy. But that may be the intention, leaving the Kings to focus on their evolution rather than worry about their adulation.

A private affair, then. And a necessary step. ‘Come Around Sundown’ is the remarkable product of an ambitious supergroup expanding their horizons, and is absolutely worth persevering with.


Words by Simon Harper



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