Kings of Leon rule over the energized rock scene

Sean Buckhorn

Continuing upon a trend developed on their previous album, southern rockers Kings of Leon have completely renovated their style. On their latest effort, Only by the Night, Kings of Leon mixes both power ballads and intense jams, moving further away from their old, garage-rock sound.

Comprised of brothers Caleb, Nathan, Jared Followill and their cousin Matthew Followill, Kings of Leon burst onto the music scene in 2003 with their CD Youth & Young Manhood. With songs like “Red Morning Light” and “Molly’s Chambers” appearing in video games and commercials, the band gained a massive following in both America and Europe.

However, the scruffy, energetic sound that Kings of Leon became known for on this CD slowly disappeared on their next albums, eventually leading to the creation of Only by the Night. Caleb’s singing, once compared to Duane Allman, still is powerful and distinct as ever, as shown on tracks “Manhattan” and “Be Somebody.”

Kings of Leon have also developed a futuristic, new-age sound on this album. In the effects-laden song “Closer,” Caleb croons over a layered guitars and a heavy drum beat, sounding less and less like the songs from Youth and Young Manhood.

Also new for the Followill boys were the ballads present on Only by the Night. On songs like “Use Somebody,” Kings of Leon favor melodic harmonies rather than the twangy guitar parts present on past albums

However, the raw and energetic sound that Kings of Leon became known for remains as strong as ever. In the catchy, guitar-driven “Sex on Fire”, Caleb sings over an up-tempo bass and an intense electric guitar. With both old and new traits, “Sex on Fire” is the defining track of Only By the Night and is sure to be a huge hit with old and new fans of Kings of Leon.

Despite this massive renovation, Kings of Leon have managed to assemble a fairly decent CD. So for new and old fans alike, Only by the Night is worth a listen.