Kings of Leon - Aha Shake Heartbreak

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:2004-11-01

Typecast them as rootin', tootin' cowboy rockers if you will, but Aha Shake Heartbreak shows the Kings Of Leon have more to offer than beardy rock classicism. Indeed, for all the talk of Neil Young or Creedence Clearwater Revival, the outfit this Nashville-based band of brothers (and one cousin) resembles most is New York new-wavers The Strokes: it's there in Nathan Followill's minimal, metronomic drum rhythms, there in Matthew Followill's spare guitar lines, and there in frontman Caleb Followill's insouciant, beer-chugging drawl.

That said, brother Caleb's lyrical concerns are strictly of the old school: the likes of "Taper Jean Girl" and "Milk" deal with wine, women and song, although if you can decipher his ragged Southern twang - at times, eerily reminiscent of Frank Black's mangled Mexican on the Pixies' "Vamos" - you perhaps deserve some sort of medal. The Kings' strongest suit is probably their fast numbers - see "The Bucket", a hymn to the touring lifestyle hauled along by the seat of its pants by a rabid clatter of tom-toms. But "Milk" offers a rare moment of neat fragility, Caleb relating an eccentric tale of a girl with an "hourglass body" to the gentle pulse of Nathan's bass drum. --Louis Pattison

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