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KINGS OF LEON Come Around Sundown (2010)

Kings Of Leon

You've released three albums and are doing pretty well - nothing spectacular, but building a growing reputation. Suddenly you release your fourth album, and from left field it becomes an overnight phenomenon, and everyone wants a slice of your pie.

That's just what happened when the Kings released their 2008 album Only By Night - a massive, massive record that sold over 6 million copies worldwide and in the process earned the band four Grammy and two Brit awards. So the million dollar question is ‘just how the hell do you follow that?'

In the Kings case they take the only sensible course of action - don't change a winning formula, and aim to keep the customer satisfied. So, although Come Around Sundown, the band's fifth album, was recorded in New York as opposed to Nashville, the production team of Angelo Petraglia and Jacquire King was retained.

Ironically kicking off the set, The End sees Come Around Sundown picking up exactly where Only By Night left off with all the trademark Kings Of Leon signature marks present and correct - the guitars painting a wide sonic canvass, a pulsing bass line and lazy drum patterns. But as the album moves into the first single - Radioactive - a slightly different perspective begins to emerge - shimmering Edge style guitars, an almost Police style rhythm and shades of gospel, although Caleb Followill's distinctive vocal style mean you'd never mistake it for anyone else.

And that just about sums up Come Around Sundown - at every turn it's instantly recognisable as the Kings Of Leon, but it's almost as if the band were rushed or trying too hard. In the main, the songs are short and pacey as opposed to stretched out and laid back, and there's nothing that immediately has the chart potential of Sex On Fire or Use Somebody.

It's very difficult to put a finger on it, but while the band's earlier releases sounded as if they were going where the flow took them, Come Around Sundown sounds more contrived and polished. The fact that Kings Of Leon weren't, was part of their charm. Beach Side is a case in point - a great track, but it sounds as if it were made for radio as opposed to finding its way there by chance. One wonders what record company pressures the band was under to come up with another commercial monster of a record.

That's not to say Come Around Sundown is a bad album, far from it. It's thoroughly enjoyable and worms its way under your skin with each listen. The album closer - Pickup Truck - being a good example. No doubt Come Around Sundown will sell by the truck load, but somehow you can't help but suspect that it will actually sounds better live - with a few rough edges.


Review by Pete Whalley


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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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