September 4, 2008

Kings of Leon: Only By The Night

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The thumping bass, pulsating guitar and quickly clicking hi-hats move Kings of Leon’s newest single “Sex on Fire” determinedly, forcefully along. The song drives like an angry steam train. No matter how horribly corny that simile may be.
Caleb Followill sings with a relaxed anxiety or a tense detachment — that is to say, his voice strains in the upper bit of his register while he flutters just behind the beat. The performance imbues the track with urgency but also with a steady pulse.
Then comes the audacity of Followill’s lyrics. Think simply of the nerve in naming a track — and shouting the words repeatedly — “Sex on Fire.” It’s ridiculous. But it’s also entirely awesome.
Kings of Leon’s forthcoming forth studio album, Only By The Night, is poised not only to be the band’s greatest, but also to be a fortified masterpiece. Listen to the “home video” on the band’s MySpace page, which features a sneak-peak snippet of another as of yet untitled track and you’ll see what I mean. Loud “awws” and reverberating guitars echo and ascend into an epic stage for Followill’s most heartfelt vocal performance in years. This album is going to be good. No, great.