KINGS OF LEON
Come Around Sundown
Fans who were into Kings of Leon before their 2008 breakthrough album Only By the Night may enjoy their fifth CD more if they played the new songs in reverse order. That way, the record starts with the great “Pickup Truck” and winds its way through a few songs featuring the spare-but-dynamic arrangements found on the band’s early albums. But the rhythm section sounds busier and less forceful here, clogging up the Kings’ typically economical songwriting. This sends the rest of the album (besides the country stomp “Back Down South”) straight into Soccer Mom territory. By the time the overly polite, late-era U2 chimes of “Radioactive” show up, you’ll miss the rough, jangling guitars that fueled the Kings’ first few albums. But none of this will matter to listeners who came in once “Use Somebody” became a hit. Still, there’s just enough of the old spark on Come Around Sundown to make older fans hold out for something better next time. —Matthew Wilkening
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