This Weeks Music Video with Grimes feat. Janelle Monae, Kings of Leon, Chance The Rapper, M.I.A, Depeche Mode, Dirty Projectors, Goldfrapp and The Staves

Kings of Leon – WALLS Review 

What had been abundantly clear with Kings of Leon by the start of this decade, is that they had lost their way. They had reacted badly to their popular success and then caught up between this success and the hipster demands of them to sound like they’ve always done. They had almost become a different band. Come Around Sundown had been a forgettable album, whilst Mechanical Bull hinted at their old lyrical and musical talents albeit in flashes. With that, their seventh studio album Walls almost signals a blank canvas for them. They’ve seriously lost their way in recent years, so this album serves as their chance to find their way again.

The first single to be released from the album was ‘Waste A Moment’. With it, they have opted for a pepped up piece of Indie music with rotational rhythms and thin, electronic harmonies with a rumbling bass line beneath crashing percussion. It is certainly nothing new and the rebellious lyrics are certainly well worn too, yet it is delivered with a confidence they’ve been lacking for six or seven years. If this song is anything to go by though, they are in full retreat back into their comfort zone. As opposed to their driving lead single, ‘Walls’ is a slow burning, acoustic number with piano chords hanging predictably from each guitar string pluck. On occasion the song is expanded with piercing lead guitars and reverberating sounds that echo into the song’s larger expanses. The intimacy remains, however and between the crossroads of the two atmospheres is Caleb’s assured and dominant vocals, easily commanding the track and the lyrics. It is an eloquent and cosy track, yet this is a simple though solid effort. ‘Reverend’ is a classic example of anthemic, festival rock with its rotating lead riffs, plunging rhythm sections and simple bass lines. Caleb’s vocals are recorded in a crisp fashion and the rougher edges and added character of them are the best part of an otherwise unsurprising song. It’s a good song, but one that you feel they could do with their eyes closed. 

‘Around the World’ is a track taken from the 2010 indie song book with jolting rhythms, rolling bass lines and shuffling percussion. They make the song work however as it’s delivered excellently and will undoubtedly be a great live track, but you have to ask where is the motivation coming from for this recently worn over sound. ‘Over’ is one of the strongest tracks on the album for mixing atmospheric quality with their anthemic direction. Though it has shades of the Killers last album, the rumbling, driving sound is paired well with Caleb’s dry vocals as opposed to the showman style of Brandon Flowers. They are able to make the track emotive and powerful with this combination. ‘Eyes On You’ is almost an ode to Thin Lizzy with a sprinkle of Huntington Beach sand in the chorus, but for that you’d just need to consult the likes of Bleached. Walls is an album that is a wholehearted delivery of an anthemic sound with strong ties to their earlier work, if not as good. It must be said that the delivery is immaculate and Caleb’s vocals have become the bands new secret weapon after being a previous afterthought. Despite this, they seem to have nothing new to offer or nothing new to say simply. The styles they’ve put forward all have another group undercutting their sound and it almost seems like they’ve been squeezed out stylistically over the last six or seven years. The world has moved on since 2008 and Kings of Leon need to consider that before their next album.

Kings of Leon – WALLS = 6/10

Owen Riddle

Single Review – Kings of Leon – Walls

Walls is the seventh studio album from Nashville’s Kings of Leon and it’s coming for October 14th. With this in mind, the now hardened rockers have unveiled the title track to follow up from the premiere single ‘Waste A Moment’. As opposed to their driving lead single, ‘Walls’ is a slow burning, acoustic number with piano chords hanging predictably from each guitar string pluck. On occasion the song is expanded with piercing lead guitars and reverberating sounds that echo into the song’s larger expanses. The intimacy remains however and between the crossroads of the two atmospheres is Caleb’s assured and dominant vocals, easily commanding the track and the lyrics. It is an eloquent and cosy track, yet this can’t be the standard of the album of course. So far, we can say they have another solid effort on their hands, but hopefully they’ll be a higher level of praise for Walls than that come October 14th.

Owen Riddle

This Weeks Music Video with Beck, Green Day, Kings of Leon, The Kills, Sampha and Chromatics 

Single Review – Kings of Leon – Waste A Moment 

What had been abundantly clear with Kings of Leon by the start of this decade, is that they had lost their way. They had reacted badly to their popular success and then became caught up between their success and the hipster demands of them to sound like they’ve always done. They had almost became a different band. Come Around Sundown had been a forgettable album, whilst Mechanical Bull hinted at their old lyrical and musical talents albeit in flashes. With that, their seventh studio album Walls almost signals a blank canvas for them. With their new single ‘Waste A Moment’ they have opted for a pepped up piece of Indie music with rotational rhythms and thin, electronic harmonies with a rumbling bass line beneath crashing percussion. It is certainly nothing new and the rebellious lyrics are certainly well worn too, yet it is delivered with a confidence they’ve been lacking for six or seven years. If this song is anything to go by though, they are in full retreat back into their comfort zone.

Owen Riddle

This Weeks Music Video

This Weeks Music Video. From Haim with If I Could Change Your Mind, Damon Albarn with Lonely Press Play, Kings of Leon with Temple and Arctic Monkeys with Arabella

This Weeks Music Video

This Weeks Music Video. From Rose Elinor Dougall with Future Vanishes, Arcade Fire with Afterlife, The Killers with Just Another Girl and Kings of Leon with Beautiful War.

Kings Of Leon – Mechanical Bull Review

It’s been well documented about how the Kings Of Leon had sort of fell from their respected position with the music of their first three albums to them sort of losing their way in more recent times. Even Caleb himself had quickly identified the wrong turn they took when he said that ”You feel like you’ve done something wrong. That woman in mom jeans who’d never let me date her daughter? She likes my music. That’s fucking not cool. You almost start doing damage control.” As I touched on last month with the album taster, it seems like this album is them trying to reverse the ‘damage’ and get back to making engaging music again which they were even struggling with on their last album. On the face of it Mechanical Bull seems to have more simple melodic hooks and riffs which is something that they originally did so well with the added factor of their experience and more mature sound.

 ‘Supersoaker’ is a slight reversal in musical style to their earlier days and retains the melodic qualities of it. In addition to this it’s a little more mature and refined. But it still churns away in the verse and chorus and pauses at the bridge in that typical structure which is a pretty reliable one at that. It allows for shifts in rhythm and in the bass line; both of which carry the tune of the song at different stages. It also has the added benefit of Caleb’s more mature and less clean vocal which gives it a certain rough edge. Lyrically it’s more upbeat in tone and the music reflects this too. It’s one of the best songs they’ve done for a few year but when in comparison to their last 10 years then its only decent in comparison but a positive step nonetheless. ‘Wait for me’ has that 80′s indie riff going on and a bass line played in a similar style. The chorus see’s a few more simple riffs from the lead guitar and more percussion in a simple manner. But the main focus is the vocal which is delivered in a much more refined and considered fashion which is more clean and soulful if you like and this is achieved by the toned down and subdued music that will probably have people singing along at festivals with their eyes closed rocking from side to side.

‘Rock City’ does what it suggests in the title. Drugged induced situations and the like of a rock star lifestyle. The lead guitar riffs are in the typical places you’d find them. The pauses and the moments when the rhythm section kicks in is typical too but it’s not trying to hide that fact and its the intention so with that in mind what makes it a good song is because it is (……..) typical. ‘Don’t matter is the unrelenting US rock song with that sustained rhythm with the lead guitar doing slipping out from underneath it for some rip-roaring solo’s. Percussion that’s heavy on the crashing cymbals and a cocky and at times snarling vocal. ‘Family Tree’ is driven by the bass but recorded in a less isolated fashion than the Arctic Monkeys had done with AM. It allows them to build the sound up a bit more with vocal harmonies and the occasional distorted riffs tearing through it. Its a great vocals performance and is a solid American rock anthem. Its seems like a retrospective album almost as the core elements of Mechanical Bull are the very elements they started off with and as a by product it sounds like a songbook of American anthems. The difference is that now the are much better players and are more experienced recording and writing so naturally it has a more mature feel to it. The combination of the two still puts the album at a good standard which makes up for the lack of innovative features and methods. I sort of pitted them and Arctic Monkeys against each other about two month ago and based on that I think the Monkeys won out because of the fresh ideas and approaches. But having said that; Kings Of Leon are recovering from a slight lean period so with that in mind they’ve been successful and the core of their fan base will enjoy this to no end.

Kings Of Leon – Mechanical Bull = 7.5/10

Images from www.rcarecords.com /  consequenceofsound.net

 

Album Taster – Kings Of Leon – Wait For Me/Supersoaker

Rewind to 2003 and these guys were the being hailed for great things and to pick up where The Strokes had left off. Initially they did but in recent times they sort of lost their way despite some chart success. On that Caleb told SPIN magazine a few years back that  “You feel like you’ve done something wrong. That woman in mom jeans who’d never let me date her daughter? She likes my music. That’s fucking not cool. You almost start doing damage control.” With their upcoming album Mechanical Bull, it seems like they have done some of that damage control. ‘Supersoaker’ is a slight reversal in musical style to their earlier days but it’s a little more mature and refined. But it still churns away in the verse and chorus and pauses at the bridge. As well as that it’s packed full of melodic riffs and harmonies. It also has the added benefit of Caleb’s more mature and soulful vocal. Lyrically it’s more upbeat in tone and the music reflects this too. ‘Wait for me’ has that 80’s indie riff going on and a bass line played in a similar style. The chorus see’s a few more simple riffs from the lead guitar and more percussion in a simple manner. But the main focus is the vocal which is delivered in a much more refined and considered fashion. All in all I think it’s the best work I’ve heard from them for about six or seven year and I think many of the fans who claimed ‘they sold out’ which in part they think themselves; will be eased back into listening to them again. Will they be able to shush all the excitement from the Arctic Monkeys September 9th release of AM by the last week of September? Perhaps. But they are on the up again regardless.

http://youtu.be/izzY55ACUQo Supersoaker

http://youtu.be/MC8QcaMMVQE Wait For Me

Image from consequenceofsound.net

This Weeks Music Video

This Weeks Music Video. Contributions from Kings Of Leon, Arctic Monkeys, Manic Street Preachers and Phosphorescent