The Right Man for the Job
Kings of Leon is a family rock band from Tennessee comprised of three brothers (Cable, Jared, and Nathan Followill) and one cousin (Matthew Followill). Upon first listen, it is easy to imagine a group of men in their fifties attempting to recapture their youth through music that is reminiscent of 1980s hard rock. So it comes as a surprise that the oldest member of the band has yet to reach age 30.Their latest album, Only By The Night, explores many different aspects of rock, ranging from psychedelic to southern to pop-influenced, yet the album itself isn’t so easy to classify. Kings of Leon’s signature sound doesn’t come from their style, instrumentation or lyric-writing ability; it comes from the voice of lead singer Caleb. An acquired taste to be certain, Caleb’s singing is a rough, throaty growl which seems like it has been forged from a lifetime of hard living despite his youthful age.
One of the most memorable tracks on the album, “Use Somebody,” has a lush orchestration and a simple melody line. As a result, the lyrics and the tune are easy to learn, making it a definite head-sticker. “Sex on Fire” also manages to capture some of that mainstream pop sensibility, begging the listener to jump up and down while shouting along.
The dichotomy between Caleb’s voice and the band’s style creates an interesting musical dilemma for the listener as the two are not an obvious fit. It may take some time for Kings of Leon to build an audience, but for the patient listener it soon becomes clear that the Kings of Leon are on to something and with any other voice, their music just wouldn’t be the same.