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The Kings of Leon Return to Their Throne

April 26, 2009

KOL returns to power with Only by The Night.

BY Mike Sanch 2/03/09

The first time we met the good ol’ brothers from Tennessee in 2003, we were introduced to a fast paced southern version of the Strokes that had an emotional lead singer that always seemed to be yearning for that ever elusive girl that he met one night, fell in desperate desire for, and wrote a song about it the next day with a hangover.

If you follow the Kings, by now you’ve been on board long enough to allow lead singer Caleb Followill’s wild, uninhibited lyrics, that seem to have been recorded with copious amounts of Tennessee’s finest whiskey, enter your longing soul.

Well, Caleb doesn’t disappoint, Only By the Night serves the usual formula of the sometimes scandalously literal and un-abstract lyrics superimposed on bluesy rhythms and southern style drums. You know, “Let’s get blitzed” music.

From the mind that brought us those classic lines in 2005, “Aha shake taper jean girl with a motel face”, you can expect some more bluntly honest lyrics. (Lyrics I can relate to, as I’ve seen those girls at the motel I run)

Only by The Night builds on KOL ‘s recent channeling of 80’s arena rock icon’s, which they continue with since coming out with Because of the Times in 2007. However, KOL adds the same raw, potent, and ferocious energy KOL has to offer.

Yet, KOL also brings the occasional arena jam that allows an 18 year old dude to reflect on his last night filled with those teases and opportunities that slipped away while making the rounds on his last freshmen college party circuit.

Only by the Night starts off with one of the synthesizer laden sequence created by equipment that they probably borrowed from U2. The song titled,Closer, has Caleb’s whiny lyrics going like,

“You shimmy-shook my boat
Leaving me stranded all in love on my own
Do you think of me
Where am I now
Baby where do I sleep”

Kinda sounds like a dude that had an amazing one night connection with some girl of his dreams, and the goddess left him “stranded”-again very straight up lyrics, and the U2 channeling chorus follows suit.

Next comes, Crawl, a classic KOL song that hits you the mouth unexpectedly; the kind of jam with the rockabilly bass that draws you back in, and boom, the riffs blow you away, all the while you’re slamming the clutch and shifting into high gear as you pass that fool in the S.U.V. on the freeway. Sometimes the lyrics are literal in relation to the music, considering lyrics like,

“You broke, my mouth,
The bloody bits are spittin’ out”

Next up was probably the most obviously recognizable KOL song of the album, Sex on Fire. As you can probably guess, it’s a song about wild adventures that was sexual in nature- to put it mildly. So you can just imagine the lyrics. HINT: the chorus includes, “your sex is on fire.”

Use Somebody followed, and this song brings back the arena sing along KOL that is easily forgettable; unless your alone on a Saturday night loaded with a 6 pack of Lone Star beer, and considering calling up that one girl.

Unfortunately for KOL, the party ended prematurely. (kinda like my Friday night that I don’t want to talk about)

The album climaxes in the first four songs, yet some wannabe classics present their case for the right to be on your i-pod quite well.

Standouts include I Want You, and the somber toned Cold Desert, which wraps up the drunken night with a soft and dreamy set up.

Overall this album is not exactly your, “let’s jam this from start to finish album”, that you show your new friends how cool you are because of the jamz you listen to.

It’s more like a solo, freeway type of music that you don’t mind unconsciously singing along to. The kind of music that finds its way into your headphones when you’re thinking about that one wild summer night spent with that perfect, yet single serving girl.

The good news is The Strokes are back in the studio.

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