Kings of Leon - Mechanical Bull - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Kings of Leon - Mechanical Bull

by Alexander Segall Rating:5 Release Date:2013-09-23

They started off as the 'Southern Strokes', and then became the 'Southern U2', before, frankly, becoming awful. Kings of Leon return with album number six, and it's, well, passable. Nothing here grabs you by the balls in the manner of their debut, or sleazes along in quite the same way as their biggest hit, 'Sex on Fire' - but then, nothing offends in quite the same way anything from Come Around Sundown.

Harking back mainly to the pretty solid third effort Because of the Times, it's another polished effort; no matter how throat-stripped Caleb Followill sounds, the sonic palette here is gleamingly sleek. The rhythms and the guitars strive for the sky and the stadium horizons, as opposed to the back of the bar, or the backseat. One thing that hasn't changed are the particularly dodgy lyrical tropes - we all know what 'Supersoaker' is really about. 'Don't Matter' is a self-conscious effort to sound like they used to, right down to the gratuitous "I can fuck, I can fight" lines.

Cameron Followill plays a few decent guitar lines, which is a positive; aping The Edge is never a good idea. 'Family Tree', sadly not a cover of the TV on the Radio song, has a decent groove, and is probably the most Southern thing here - in a very 80s way, mind you, but still, there's something to sing along to, with the right amount of nod-and-wink to probably incestuous fun, as opposed to outright filth.

There's a preponderance of slower, softer songs - perhaps to appease the girls in the backs of the Camaros in which they envisage this record playing. It does make for a slow record, one which seems quite throwaway (witness 'Comeback Story' and 'Coming Back Again', both on a comeback record) as opposed to exquisitely crafted, or even an intense, rough first record. It's Kings of Leon by numbers - inessential, inoffensive, and will pad out the middle section of a gig while the punters get another beer.

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