February 27, 2003

Test Spin: Kings of Leon

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Holy Roller Novocaine is the latest 5-track EP from four musicians with the same last name (Followill). The Kings of Leon, a trio of brothers and their cousin (all of whom hail from Tennessee) provide an engaging variety of classic rock songs with a pulsing set of drums and inviting guitar chords, reminiscent of artists from Chuck Barry to Eric Clapton in his Cream days. The album’s gem is “California Waiting.” Surf-rock with a catchy flow, “California Waiting” is the defining song of the album, one which gives Caleb Followill the presence of an affected singer. In this track and “Wicker Chair,” Followill’s voice is a melancholy combination of Elvis Costello and the Counting Crows’ Adam Duritz.

The only unfortunate thing about the Kings’ possible emergence isn’t their music, but rather their timing. Bands, such as The Strokes and The Hives, have taken the MTV spotlight in the latest “reemergence of rock,” a trend that may overshadow the ingenuity that this EP possesses. Regardless, Holy Roller Novocaine is an album that displays the Kings as a modern Grateful Dead to some degree. With different gears of funky classic rock and soulful choruses, Kings of Leon are a family that simply wants to have a rockin’ good time.


Archived article by Dan Cohen