The album cover of Kings of Leon’s Come Around Sundown (Flickr)
by Jack Kaminski
The long anticipated fifth album of Kings of Leon kept most fans in the darkness. Would Come Around Sundown sway more towards their Tennessee roots of unpronounced vocals about rodeos and taper jean girls, or toward their 6.2 million sold copies of Only by the Night? No doubt if I were to hear Sex on Fire on a club dance floor again, I?d kick the shins of the guy dancing next to me who claims he?s their biggest fan because he knows one song. Pity the follower and his ignorance!
Come Around Sundown, however, sways neither here nor there. A limbo album that sheds a new light recovers from its previous profit-making disaster, like a petite green plant that rises out from the debris. For drummer brother Nathan Followill, the album sounds similar to that of Youth and Young Manhood with its ?beachy? and ?chilled out? vibes. Well, not quite Nathan, as Jared Followill?s sub-woofed bass presence in The Face is, no doubt, reminiscent of the darker and grungier tracks of Because of the Times. With the upbeat vigor din of Radioactive rising as the new album?s single, I guess it?s only a matter of time before we have another Use Somebody on our hands. Nonetheless it?s reassuring for the fan to know that the album isn?t pulling out all its commercial tricks. Otherwise, to top Only by the Night?s 43 minutes of commercially-popish garbage would mean selling out completely, not only to the name of Rock, but to the fans that put the Followill four on their feet.
Speaking of Rock, critics and fans alike felt that the Tennessee trio-plus-one shifted from their original Southern Rock sound in their previous album. I must admit, though, that Back Down South is as corny as the name itself. The poor attempt to revisit their roots in the over-Southern sliding of the guitar and fiddling of the fiddle would make anyone want to slip on a pair of buckled boots and line dance. Though, when this happens, then you know you?ve struck the very core of the genre?s cliché heart.
Regardless of Come Around Sundown?s cohesive-sounding production with that of Only by the Night, the album echoes a familiar quality from their first three albums throughout. Jaded Kings of Leon fans can regain their faith in the band through the raw edge softness in Mi Amigo, the emphatic fore-fronted bass licks in The Immortals and Pony Up, and the unforgettable strangled-struggle of Caleb?s voice in Pickup Truck and Pyro. As the album was recorded in New York City, the longing for home glistens the rock stars? longing for familiarity, where Caleb Followill whole-heartedly sings in The Face, ?If you give up New York I?ll give you Tennessee/ The only place to be.?
It has been two years since the band?s superstardom gluttony in their multi-platinum success, two years of thwarted and disillusioned followers, two years of impatient waiting that has arisen to this moment where the King?s give back. As they return with new-edged roots, Come Around Sundown has undoubtedly restored what they had lost in those two years.The Kings are back in buckled boots!