The brothers (and one cousin) Followill have created another great album, and it may put them on a par with some of the greatest new acts of the past decade.
To start comparing Kings of Leon to other greats like Radiohead, Beck and White Stripes is really not too far-fetched given the consistently innovative and distinctive sound they are able to create. It is at once instantly recognizable and totally different, and that sound propels the course of their fourth release, "Only By the Night."
The Kings' father, named Leon, was a traveling preacher and these boys spent their youth following him through the South as he preached to small-town congregations. Their upbringing was fairly fractured and isolated as a result, and their sound seems to reflect a point of reference shared only by themselves.
The instant single on "Only by the Night" will be "Use Somebody," but other great cuts include "Manhattan," "Sex on Fire," and the eerie opening cut "Closer."
Caleb Followill's voice has the kind of urgency that demands the listener's attention, and the background noise of grinding guitar and ethereal screeches lends an atmosphere of chaos to the landscape. I recommend that you make the trip through that landscape with them.
Andy Kline is program director at KXLL-FM Radio in Juneau and music critic for the Hooligan. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.