Kings of Leon - Because of the Times

Kings of Leon
Because of the Times

(RCA)

John Metzger's #12 album for 2007

First Appeared in The Music Box, March 2007, Volume 14, #3

Written by John Metzger

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For a band that thrives on being in front of an audience, Kings of Leon has put together a remarkably solid slate of studio albums. Although one gets the sense that its songs have the potential to pack even more of a punch in a concert setting, the ensemble largely succeeded on both Youth & Young Manhood and Aha Shake Heartbreak in capturing the primal, adrenaline-soaked, tension-and-release fury of its attack. In that sense, Kings of Leonís latest endeavor Because of the Times is no different. Throughout the set, drums crash, guitars scream, and basses throb as front man Caleb Followill growls his way through 13 hazy songs about having children out of wedlock (Knocked Up), perseverance (McFearless), unrequited affection (True Love Way), and rock star idolatry (Fans).

Assuming that Kings of Leon musically has remained in one place, however, would be an inaccurate assessment. Granted, the group still has a penchant for challenging newcomers to go with the flow, and the combined effect of the opening trio of tunes on Because of the Times might be enough to turn away many of the more curious souls among them. Knocked Up lingers for more than seven minutes as crisp, penetrating shots from a drum jarringly break through the atmospheric textures that wash over the songís quietly propulsive rhythm. On Charmer, punk rockís clatter merges with heavy metalís thunder in a way that is strangely reminiscent of The Policeís Mother ó albeit as performed by The White Stripes in full, Led Zeppelin mode ó while the subsequent On Call begins as an ethereal piece in the spirit of Peter Gabriel-led Genesis. Yet, as the beat kicks in and the guitars begin to churn, everything seems to fall into place ó so well, in fact, that, in retrospect, the opening cuts gain traction.

For the remainder of Because of the Times, Kings of Leon showcases the maturity that it gleaned from touring with U2, Pearl Jam, and Bob Dylan. Each track on the effort is better than the one that preceded it, and from the clamorous country inflections of Black Thumbnail to the reggae-tinged jubilance of Ragoo, the collective makes it perfectly clear that it is more than ready to play with the big boys. Because of the Times, then, feels like it is a huge coming-out party for Kings of Leon. Whatís even more astonishing is that it doesnít feel at all as if the band made any commercial concessions to host it. In an age of generic, watered-down rock, this is truly a testament to Kings of Leonís ambitions as well as to its potential for a long and prosperous career. starstarstarstar

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Of Further Interest...

The Dead Weather - Horehound

Jet - Shine On

The Strokes - First Impressions of Earth

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Because of the Times is available from
Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!

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Ratings

1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!

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Copyright © 2007 The Music Box