Kings Of Leon – Walls – 14/10/16
Ladies and gentlemen prepare to have your ears cleansed for Kings of Leon are back with more style, variety and suave ‘edge’ than ever before. The band’s 7th studio album edges further away from the earlier song style and instead reflects a more refined and shinier gloss side to the Nashville Four Piece. If variety is what you’re after then look no further because this album is more varied than an episode of ‘The Mighty Boosh’, but maybe not quite as strange. The album sounds more English than anything the band have released to date and whether thats a good thing or not I can’t decide.
The opening track ‘Waste A Moment’ is one of K.O.L’s best to date and sounds like ‘Sex on Fires’ long lost siamese twin removed at birth. A powerful chorus with an addictive chord progression glued together with Caleb Followill’s insanely awesome voice. A voice that carries the album almost entirely as it weaves from style to style. Easily the album’s best track and one that begs to be heard in an arena or at a sweaty summer festival.
OK now that song is out of the way I bet you’re expecting the rest of the album to follow in its sexual shadow but that’s where you’re wrong. ‘Reverend’ for me is just a decent Kings of Leon album track. One that you wouldn’t mind hearing live but at the same time wouldn’t lose any sleep over if they left it out of their set list. Admittedly it’s not until track three ‘Around the World’ where the albums forks off into H & M looking for a new pair of Chinos and a ‘shirt-shirt’. A guitar riff expected to be heard on a 1975 track and instrumentation that sounds somehow detached from the usual Kings of Leon sound. Extra Percussion and synth – wasn’t expecting that. If it wasn’t for Caleb’s voice then I’m not sure how i feel about it to be quite honest.
Feel free to skip past track 4: ‘Find Me’. The chord progression and general feel of the track sounds underdeveloped and dated in my opinion. Sounds like something expected around 2007/2008/2009… maybe that’s popular in America right now but I’m pretty certain it isn’t here and hasn’t been for a long time. The Chorus admittedly is kinda ‘catchy’ and like with most tracks on the album as I will keep saying is held together with Caleb’s always believable voice. The voice that emanates honesty even when the music sometimes doesn’t.
‘Over’ sounds exactly like White Lies. There’s no two ways about it. It has a nice feel with that distorted bass, chugging Toms on the drums and arpeggiated synth part heard on something typical of Bastille. Not much else is offered though unfortunately musically (Apart from the vocal performance offered towards the back end). The feel of the song is nice and that’s my general consensus of the track…. Nice.
On my first listen to ‘Muchacho’ I thought I’d knocked something on my computer and opened up a youtube window advertising holidays in Puerto Rico but then I realised I’d just changed artist to Barry Manilow. Oh wait no I hadn’t, there’s his voice again… PHEW! What was going on here then in the studio. Was this a joke track or did they just fancy doing whatever the ‘F’ they felt like. It sounds totally unlike anything I’ve ever heard from the band. Against an earlier track of theirs like ‘Molly’s Chambers’ the difference is insane. Not calling it a bad track, it’s just very VERY different.
‘Conversation Piece’ offers little and just feels like a pretty standard album track again. However ‘Eyes On You’ does sound more like Kings of Leon but as explained in my awesome list at the bottom of this equally awesome review it sounds a hell of a lot like the Magic Numbers, especially their track ‘Love Me Like you’. The integrity heard in Caleb’s voice pulls this song far enough away from that though, or does it? Definitely one of his best vocal performances on the album I think. ‘Wild’ is a decent enough track that doesn’t have much for me to compare it with. It again sounds further developed than older songs and kind of not what I was expecting. Well done though Lads I’ll let you have that one.
The album’s closing track ‘Walls’ is my second favourite from the record. Maybe the most chilled KOL song I’ve ever heard but at the same time it’s nice to calm things down every now and again. Close your eyes, lie down in front of a fire on a cold night and get comfy is exactly what this song will make you want to do. That voice though…. Am I Right?!
If you wanted to see what the album sounded like at a quick glance then here is the track listings against what they sound similar to. Even if you didn’t want to see what the album sounded like, here it is anyway:
1. “Waste A Moment” – Kings of Leon – What a banger!
2. “Reverend” – Still Kings of Leon at this point so no need for concern just yet.
3. “Around The World” – The 1975 & Bombay Bicycle Club Shaking hands w/ Kings of Leon.
4. “Find Me” – Mid 2000 British indie band/ Think Maximo Park Tribute Band with a decent voice.
5. “Over” – The Editors and White Lies Writing music for a film trailer.
6. “Muchacho” – ‘Barry Manilow and Brandon Flowers must have paid K.O.L to write this.
7. “Conversation Piece” – The very average filler track courtesy of K.O.L this time.
8. “Eyes On You” – The Magic Numbers called and want their song back.
9. “Wild” – Kings of Leon with electric piano… oooh cheeky!
10. “WALLS” – Michael Bolton worthy ballad chilling on ice.
All in all the album feels like somewhat of a musical experiment varying from style to style from song to song. If it wasn’t for that voice this album would be getting a significantly lower score so lads you have your Brother/Cousin Caleb to thank for that!
Review: James Rodgers