Customer Review

18 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Darker and less accessible than KoL's previous albums, April 15, 2007
This review is from: Because of the Times (Audio CD)
I don't know how Kings of Leon at one time was (mis)labeled "the Strokes of the South". Maybe it was due to the short length of their first 2 albums (clocking in at about 30-35 min.). Yes, the band relied on quick guitar hooks and riffs, but there is a sea of difference with the KoL sound and the Strokes. Kings of Leon's 2005 album "Aha Shake Heartbreak" was a breakthrough album for the band in many ways (among others, bringing it mainstream success in the UK). It was one of my favorite albums of 2005. Now comes the highly anticipated new album.

"Because of the Times" (13 tracks, 51 min.) is a curious affair. It is immediately clear that the sound is darker and less accessible than on KoL's previous albums. I cannot make heads or tails of the first 2 songs, and generaly skip straight to track 3, "On Call" (first single), which starts an incredible string of no-miss tracks, all the way through track 9. "McFearless" is complex yet draws you in (it somehow reminded me of the Twilight Singers' searing sound, as it does on "On Call"). "Ragoo" mizes it up with some reggae undertones. "Fans" is a tribute to the band's fanbase in the UK (with a great line like "These raining days aren't so bad when you're the king"). I rate the tracks 3 through 9 sequence 5 stars. After that, it drops off again, with "Camaro" as the lone remaining highlight. There are just a few too many mediocre spots to rate this album more than 4 stars. I just LOVE that middle sequence of 7 songs that form the heart of the album, but the rest is not up to that same level.

Kings of Leon are much bigger outside the US than they are here. This album crashed in at No. 1 on the British charts, and KoL are HUGE there. I don't think this album will do the same for them in the US, but then again stranger things have happened. I certainly would love to see them achieve greater success here--the album entered the Billboard 200 at 25, a career-best. Live the band is a force to be reckoned with (reminding me of My Morning Jacket's steady climb to one of the best live bands out there), and I can't wait to see them when they come here to Cincinnati next month.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 7, 2007 4:26:51 PM PDT
A. H. Walker says:
Darker & less accessible???? What planet is this guy on? Let's cut to the chase. This is the best album so far. More catchy, more ambitious, better produced, better sung, better written...I could go on. In short, buy it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 1, 2008 8:52:45 PM PDT
Paul Allaer says:
I am on this planet, thank you... That said, I saw KoL four times in concert last year after the album was released, and it only reinforced what I said in my review, which is that they are one of the best live rock acts out there these days. And by the way, I ended up rating this album No. 2 of my best of 2007 albums.

Posted on Jul 23, 2008 6:12:15 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 23, 2008 6:13:12 PM PDT
Sep 2363 says:
You hit the nail on the head perfectly--some great songs 3--9 and a few others---completely lost on 1&2
I was disappointed because I could not wait for this to come out--lookin' forward to the next one
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Review Details

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Reviewer

Paul Allaer
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   

Location: Cincinnati

Top Reviewer Ranking: 62