Album Reviews

Kings of Leon – Mechanical Bull (2013) Review

When Caleb Followill of Kings of Leon stumbled off stage in Dallas in 2011 everyone thought this was the beginning of the end of the band. When the band announced they were canceling the remainder of that tour as well as announcing their hiatus, their fears were soon realized. Would this be the end of a band that had just seen the rise of their fame come to its apex? It turns out the answer to that question would be answered with a new album called “Mechanical Bull.”

The album, released again on RCA, is a journey of the band’s reawakening. It’s 11 tracks that lead us through and remind us why we love this band. Caleb’s voice is all too familiar and showcases how soulful he can be. It’s larger than life while containing a rock fueled feel that can only be described as epic.

The first track “Supersoaker” is a great example of what broke them out in their 2008 album Only by the Night.” It’s easy on the ears and with its basic 4 beat uptempo, it shows that Kings of Leon aren’t looking to reinvent themselves. The lyrics and Caleb’s voice help round this track out and make it very dynamic. 

Rock City” is a slower paced rock track with blues feel. It’s the kind of track you could picture being played as you enter a dive bar on some dirt road in the middle of the Nevada desert. The chorus and subsequent guitar solo helps make this one of my favorite tracks on the album.

The next track “Don’t Matter” can only be described as very Queens of the Stonage-ish. It has that dirty rock vibe with the reverb and background chorus that makes QOTSA great. But add Caleb’s soulful voice and it takes the sound to the next level. The minor key this song is played also makes it an almost dark rock song. Again, all I could think of while listening to this was “Wow, this would be a great QOTSA track.” Still, good stuff!

Beautiful War” takes things back to a slower pace but the lyrics keep you engaged. Simple drum background, small bass line, and heavy rock guitar round this track out. Simple but elegant at the same time. Lots of sound for such a simple track. The guitar is not overbearing nor does it take away from what the over all message is for this song.

I don’t know that I’ll take you through all eleven tracks. They’re all great in their own way. “Temple” is also a great song. Great sound and showcases some of the older sound Kings of Leon fans will appreciate. Overall I think the band did a great job mixing some of their older sound into the sound that broke them into superstardom. Tracks like “Wait for me” and “Comeback Story” show that they are able to continue releasing songs that have a wide appeal while satisfying longtime fans who fell in love with them during early releases.

I’m sure everyone is looking for that “Sex is on Fire” type of song that fans have been looking for but there really aren’t any tracks that stand out to me that have that same feel. “Tonight” comes close but it holds back a little. You really want it to just be unleashed but even in the chorus it’s held back. It’s not disappointing it’s just different.

Bottomline: This is their best release since that 2008 album that broke them out into the big blue world. It’s bold, it’s vulnerable, and it’s soulful. There’s a connection that we’ve been looking for from Kings of Leon and true fans of the band will not be disappointed. Front to back this is a great album and one that is definitely on my Top 5 albums for 2013. The mixture of high tempo and rock/blues track means you’re never bored. There are a couple of bonus tracks and if you’re a big enough fan I highly recommend picking up the deluxe album. They’re two of the best tracks on the album. They’re different which is why I’m sure they left them off the general album but still worth the time and listen.

Rating: 9/10

 

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