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Only by the Night

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Editors’ Notes

As the Followill brothers (and cousin Matthew) grow up their sound matures in unexpected ways. Their first releases promoted a group tough on guitars and infatuated with a southern-slinging garage rock; their more recent work has turned its ears towards an anthemic arena rock that singer Caleb Followill embraces with the messianic streak of Bono himself (or at least the Black Crowes’ Chris Robinson). “Use Somebody” twirls in a splashing of guitar riffs and reverb-ed atmospherics, the backing vocals merging with the indistinct drones of the wispy keyboards. “Manhattan” most directly recalls the soulful screed of the Crowes’ Chris Robinson, while the band show unusual restraint leaving silences and space where they once would’ve come out with all guns drawn. By expanding their influences and options, Kings of Leon, for better and worse, have left their roots behind. The primitive, angry growls have turned to pensive moments of calm introspection (“Revelry”, “Cold Desert”). When they do ramp things up, it’s with a jazzy precision as “Crawl” and “Sex on Fire” employ a musical intricacy that would’ve been unthinkable back in the days of Youth and Young Manhood. It’s this band’s natural evolution, but there’s no denying it’s a shock to the system.

Customer Reviews

So so so disappointing

A fan of KOL for years, I feel utterly disappointed by this offering. Gone is the raw sound, the aggression, the passion, the unique way they structured their songs and that unique incomprehension! The production on this album is horribly smooth and lifeless and the songs boring. A gutless, sold out fourth album that will be given to my mother to put with other her middle of the road pap.

Still Kings

For the 6 or 7 people, devastated that the band have moved away from the traditional country roots to a stadium anthem sound, I would like to gently point out the obvious fact that this is the type of audience they play for now. They will only very rarely play at venues small enough to make songs like Wicker Chair or Day Old Blues effective so they have to develop a different sound that will work better in more stadium-sized venues that they will inevitably be performing their newer work. In doing so they haven't left their roots with behind, rather, they have made them bigger and better than before, and simply reinterpreted the same sounds in a new way, as all good bands must do to remain at the top of their game. I can only hope that the idiots who take the holier-than-thou attitude towards music claiming to be a "real fan" because they "liked them before they were famous" would open their eyes (and ears) and get it through their ignorant skulls that this is a truly stunning album, as anyone with even the slightest sense of what good music sounds like can surely recognise. If you haven't already done so, buy it now.


Opens fantastically and just keeps on going. gets better with every listen. album of the year surely


Formed: 2000 in Nashville, TN

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Initially embraced as "the Southern Strokes" for their resurrection and reinvention of Dixie-styled rock & roll, Kings of Leon steadily morphed themselves into an experimental rock outfit during the 2000s. The Tennessee-bred quartet debuted in 2003 with the Holy Roller Novocaine EP, whose blend of raw, unpolished boogie rock was further explored on their debut full-length, Youth & Young Manhood. Such revivalist music was matched by a similarly revivalist appearance -- including long hair, mustaches,...
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Only by the Night, Kings of Leon
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