Hanging on for dear life: Kings of Leon Mechanical Bull album review
Kings of Leon return with newest release
Published: Sunday, September 29, 2013
Updated: Sunday, September 29, 2013 13:09
Kings of Leon are sell-outs.
The band’s indie-rock musical integrity was diminished with the release of Only by the Night in 2008. It was packed with polished arrangements and refined lyrics, and held within it were two of the band’s most profitable songs to date, “Use Somebody” and “Sex on Fire.” Along with immense success, the album also led to the band’s notorious meltdown in 2011.
Since then, Kings Of Leon have been placed high on an anthem-fueled pedestal. It’s therefore no surprise their comeback album, Mechanical Bull, was both highly anticipated and unpredictable. Fans always anticipate the possibility of a meltdown in the music industry with twisted excitement.
The band’s original fans that manifested as a result of 2007’s Because of the Times and were disgraced by Only by the Night are likely to enjoy the minority of the album. Kings of Leon’s original raw, indie sound with a twist of 21st century mod-rock is nonetheless prevalent. “Don’t Matter” is raw in its entirety and is a standout track. The repetitive chords are familiar enough and the guitar solo that erupts offers a peek into the band’s renewed purpose and sound.
The shimmering epics “Tonight” and “Comeback Story” threaten to outshine the rest of the album the same way “Sex on Fire” and “Use Somebody” did five years prior. These tracks emanate the band’s stadium-sized ambition, which has stayed with them through the turbulent arguments of the latter end of the last decade.
“Comeback Story” is punchy in its message.
“I walk a mile in your shoes/Now I’m a mile away and I’ve got your shoes,” vocalist Caleb Followill sings.
Kings of Leon are diverse and willing to take on the challenges that their conflicting fan-bases throw at them.
This album is the fullest that Kings of Leon has ever been. Mechanical Bull is full of musical craftsmanship, attended to and caressed into place by producer Angelo Petraglia, who layered tonal work with intense drumbeats and guitar chords.
“Work With Me” is the best example of the production Mechanical Bull offers to its listener. Although polished, the family-spun album is littered with its vital edginess.
This is likely to be as dynamic and dangerous as the Followills are going to get. As the title suggests, Mechanical Bull does subtly dip its toes into the degrading down slope of mechanical music.
Though the album is worthy of applause, there is still an obvious attempt to keep everyone happy. If another album manifests itself along the same guidelines, Kings of Leon will fall into the hole of boring, predictable track listings that many bands before them have tripped into.
Mechanical Bull is a comeback album. It’s a comeback album in its track titles, in its rough, feeling-in-the-dark uncertainty in what the response may be. The different styles can be enjoyed in their solidarity, but in unison with one another, they are more admirable.
There’s a gritty essence that lies below all of the tracks, from rock ballad to country song. Mechanical Bull is ludicrously ambitious – but Kings of Leon have pulled it off.