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Come Around Sundown
Kings of Leon Come Around Sundown
Released 16 October 2010

Angelo Petraglia,
Jacquire King
Label RCA
Length 47:26
Genre Rock, alternative, southern rock
Website www.kingsofleon.com

For many, Kings of Leon only came into being with the release of their fourth studio album Only By The Night. Before this point, they struggled to get noticed by the general public, none of their singles managed to break into the top ten in the UK or Ireland and amazingly didn’t even chart in America. Things changed drastically with 'Sex On Fire', a huge hit that became a weekend anthem and sure fire crowd-pleaser for every pub cover band. The follow up single, 'Use Somebody' achieved similar success but the problem was the long time fans felt shafted. The clean cut pin-ups that Kings of Leon had become seemed a life time away from the beer drinking, cigarette smoking rockers with dodgy haircuts and facial hair that had appeared in 2003. For a bit of perspective check out the video to 'Red Morning Light' on YouTube and imagine telling those guys they would become objects of desire, they’d probably have beaten you up. Whatever your stance, there is big interest as to how Only By The Night would be followed up, the answer comes in the form of Come Around Sundown.

Kings of Leon come across all Francis Ford Coppola, beginning their album with 'The End', a bass driven song that’s part 'On Call' with hints of 'Sex on Fire'. It’s a safe start, one that’s by the numbers but catchy enough for it not to be a problem. The next track is the lead single 'Radioactive', a song I wasn’t exactly crazy about when I first heard it, but a few listens later and it has grown on me to a degree, though it’s hard to see it being a huge hit for them.

The next two songs up confirm that Kings of Leon are still capable songwriters. 'Pyro' opens with a guitar riff that sounds like the beginning to 'Everybody Wants To Rule The World' by Tears For Fears. It’s a rocked up power ballad with a catchy sing-a-long chorus, Come Around Sundown’s equivalent to 'Use Somebody'. The next track is 'Mary', the type of 1950s prom song you see in the movies. It’s a tad cheesy but I couldn’t help but like it.

Following this is a run of tracks that show that Kings of Leon have improved their technical ability and broadened their musical style. The better tracks include 'Back Down South', a country rock song very much like The Rolling Stone’s 'Sweet Virginia' and 'Beach Side' a summer driving song with the usual slide guitars and organs. They’re both likable songs but a bit too boring to have any kind of longevity.

The real shame is that despite the high points there’s nothing here as ballsy as 'Molly’s Chambers' or as edgy as 'Charmer', the kind of songs that most bands would kill to be able to write. In an ideal world there would be two versions of Kings of Leon, one that would churn out the radio friendly rock that, being honest we’ve all sang along to after a few pints, and the other that would continue making interesting music knowing that they were so far away from mainstream that they could do what they want. A lot of what appears on this album is still good music, but it’s the cost of these songs that makes it so bittersweet.

- Brian Kinsella