Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Don't knock it, don't knock it

I'm not entirely sure why, but I'm listening to Only By The Night for probably the fourth time since I got it last year and feel compelled to write about Kings of Leon.. I've always been a big fan of theirs, ever since I got hooked to Molly's Chambers and Red Morning Light; ever since I bought my copy of Aha Shake Heartbreak back in 2004 and fell in love with all those awkward, southern ballads. There was something about the stripped down guitars and high pitched yelps of Caleb and his fellow Followills that captured the imagination. With Because of the Times they made a certified 'step up', beefing up the sound and giving every song a heart wrenching chorus. I loved it, On Call was an instant classic and it actually challenged Aha.. as to my favourite KOL album, and their performance at Reading that year was amazing. Move forward a year and Only By The Night is released. Now, I actually hung around a surf shop in Cornwall when it was announced on the radio that they were going to play Sex on Fire, the then as yet unheard new single. I thought it was good, in the same vein as the last album and almost as good. However, when the album came out it really didn't capture my imagination, every time I listened to it I switched off by the time track five came on..

Anyway, the reason I'm writing this is I was flicking through itunes and for some reason decided to have a listen to Be Somebody, the penultimate track on the album, which I may have listened to before, I can't really remember.. The point is, I discarded the album without giving it a proper chance, scoffing when I saw it so high in Rough Trade's end of year list. Turns out, apart from perhaps a couple of songs mid album, it is actually pretty good, and I feel bad for turning my back on a band I've always really liked. I can understand how fans of the band got annoyed when Sex on Fire was played everywhere, there's always an element of bitterness when your favourite band suddenly gets huge. At first glance yes, the album may seem like a move into the territory of MOR stadium rock anthems, but there's still that fractured beauty of Caleb's voice singing true, giving them that credibility and honesty that so many other bands lose when they hit the big league. I understand this post is about six months too late, but I suddenly felt an urge to write it, and well, I did.

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