Kings Of Leon/Because Of The Times

OK, I will admit…..I was slow to jump on the Leon Bandwagon…..some of their material I really do not care for….the new release was an instant hit in my brain, so I have been slowly digesting earlier material. Because Of The Times was released in 2007 and was the band’s third proper release.

Knocked Up—-From the onset, you recognize that the band has slowly obtained a larger and much more arena friendly sound. This song is better Americana sounding folk/rock than anything Springsteen has managed of late. The guitar is very low key and the voice is full of angst and expressive feeling. The song manages to open up into full rock mood mid song and you are not disappointed…just as quickly the song settles and allows the vocal spotlight. This is momentous…really wonderful!

Charmer—-With a wonderful bass line and drum delivery, the vocals go from sedate to incredibly irritating in a moments notice. The song has a huge sound…the guitars are layered. appear and disappear and overtake the song at times. I do not care for the vocal, but you take the good with the bad.

On Call—-Sounding much more familiar and adaptable, the vocal is heavy in emotion and seriousness. The voice has a way of dragging out certain words that is so attractive to me. The guitar sound is huge…but it is pushed to the back and allows the voice to have the spotlight. This is Alt Rock on grand display. Wonderfully produced and delivered, a favorite of mine upon the first listen.

McFearless—-Wonderfully huge and full of grand drum deliveries and guitar experimentations, the voice is erratic and without direction through the first two bars of the song. The chorus opens up and allows the music to shine through as the vocal is moved to the back of the mix. This is wonderfully noisy and bombastic…a nice prelude to the things that are to come. Great!!!

Black Thumbnail—-The song begins in one headphone as the vocal enters through the other. The track has an Alt-Blues feel to it that opens up into a pure rock induced experimentation of heavy noise and feedback. The voice is so distinctive that I am now able to recognize it anywhere. This is wonderfully constructed and only shows the bands true breadth.

My Party—-The instrumental intro to the song is predictable…the vocal introduction is a muted and removed delivery that seems as if it was recorded in a tunnel. The voice rarely obtains it’s true power, instead the song concentrates on the bass flavor and drum delivery of the song. This is nice, but a little too White Stripes experimental for me.

True Love Way—-Again, this song seems bass heavy and slightly experimental. As the song opens up, you realize that this is a song built for huge arenas and emotive crowds. This is practically brilliant…this counld have been on the new release without any problem…the songwriting and instrumentation are evident. this is wonderful!!!

Ragoo—-Again, from the onset you recognize certain sounds and melodies that are familiar. I have listened to the new Leon CD about 100 times, and this reeks of the material on that record. The voice is in your face, but not obnoxious…the music is understated yet more than acceptable. this is wonerful…the second half of this release is much better than the first. Wow!!!

Fans—-Wow….wow….wow….this is incredible. Perhaps as good, if not better than anything I have heard from this band. The voice is delivered in the trademark wonderful tone…the music is huge without overriding the emotion of the voice. The song could play in a small club or a huge arena…the atmosphere is that powerful. This is truly magnificent…I love this!!!

The Runner—-Wonderfully sedate, the song has an almost Alt-Country feel to it as the voice sings of Jesus and heartbreak. This is huge…this song would play well in front of 10.000 people with no problem. As the drums and bass sound amp up for the chorus, the music almost overtakes the quieter vocal, but leaves room for the misery of the lyrics. Wow….AGAIN!!!

Trunk—-Sedate and full of swirling atmosphere, the vocal is full of reverb and drawn out sentences. Masterfully full of space and continuum, the result is a jam song that allows you to sway and trance out while still singing along and fall into the gentle blues bliss of the musical delivery. This is pretty fantastic!!!

Camaro—-Wonderfully full of huge sounds and emotions, you would expect nothing less from a song with this title. This is beautifully constructed…the song has an almost southern fried blues sound that fits the vocal to a perfect tone. This is wonderful….gosh…I wonder what happened between the first 5 songs and the rest of the release…there is a huge difference in sound and delivery….I’m very pleased with this.

Arizona—-The musical delivery is sedate and serious, the voice is almost strained with true emotion. The overall tone of the song makes me want to hear Springsteen…the underlying sound is that huge!!! This is a brilliant end to a release that started rough but really came alive as it progressed. I can’t wait for the next, next release. This could be the biggest band in the world!!!

**** out of 5


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