Kings of Leon | Come Around Sundown

RCA (2010)
By ALEXANDRA CAVALLO  |  October 12, 2010
2.5 2.5 Stars

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Kings of Leon seem to have hit their stride on their fifth studio album — but it's more of a stroll, and they're not heading anywhere particularly new. That said, the multi-Grammy-winning band are struggling with an audible dilemma on Come Around Sundown. Torn between their loose-limbed, Southern garage-band roots and the staggering, glossy heights of stadium-rock fame, the Kings appear to be asking themselves, "At what cost?" Having been in the game for far longer than many of their rabid young fans know, this family act (who were fairly huge overseas long before their sex caught fire stateside) have been resting on the laurels of one irritatingly catchy hit. Come Around Sundown is a little unfocused, the tracks alternating between the slick, studio anthems sure to please fans of Only by the Night and the rambling, looser material that harks back to their Southern-fried Aha Shake Heartbreak days. They seem hell-bent on pleasing everyone, and at times they succeed. The insistent bass line and Caleb Followill's signature creaky, haunting vocals on "The End" are sleekly atmospheric; the first single, "Radioactive," already seems bound for heavy radio play. But boundaries stretch on "Mary," a faintly retro ode for which Followill seems to be channeling a mid-'90s Steven Tyler. The ambling, twangy "Birthday" nods to the "Southern Strokes" days. And though "Back Down South" is a bit more Kid Rock than Skynyrd, it gives long-time fans the hope that their next album just might go there.

  Topics: CD Reviews , Caleb Followill, Kings of Leon, Kings of Leon,  More more >
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