Kings of Leon

Josh Nicolay

Being the self-proclaimed, devoted music listener that I am, it’s rare when I come across music (especially rock and roll) that I’ve never had any acquaintance with. I try to keep my listening repertoire extensive and liberal, but with the wide range of musical choices available today, it takes some serious effort to sift through all of the barren and mediocre garbage to find a true gem. Luckily for me, my first experience with the Southern outfit Kings of Leon on their newest release “Because Of The Times” was worth every minute.

Hailing from Mt. Juliet, Tenn., Kings of Leon are the Southern indie rock band made up of the three Followill brothers Nathan, Caleb, and Jared, and their cousin Matthew. Having grown up the sons of a traveling Pentecostal preacher, the Followill brothers were akin to life on the road at an early age. After moving to Nashville, the brothers formed Kings of Leon with cousin Matthew in 2000.

Kings of Leon’s sound is influenced by a wide variety of different musical cadences, from its Southern religious roots to the crude rock sound of greats such as The Rolling Stones and U2. Caleb’s exceptional vocal howl could single-handedly separate the band from anything today, but he is seamlessly consummated by the genius rounded off by the bands instrumental skill and prowess.

Named after a Christian ministry conference held in Louisiana, “Because Of The Times” is the bands’ third full-length studio release. The album starts off with the brilliant seven minute anthem “Knocked Up” which perfectly summarizes the bands’ overall melodic tones and lyrical development. Other notable tracks, such as “On Call” and “Black Thumbnail,” demonstrate the bands’ diversity and ability to sway from a predefined style to something more pop-infused. The album’s final track, “Arizona,” is the perfect compliment to round off the album’s distinctive sound and imparts an unreserved, yet laid back, mood separate from the rest of the album.

Having already scored opening acts for such music giants as Pearl Jam and Bob Dylan, Kings of Leon is showing it has what it takes to endure the pressures of longevity in music and, if we’re lucky, that Southern-influenced rock is making a passionate comeback.