Kings Of Leon: Only By The Night

Kings Of Leon: Only By The Night

Now? Now is when Kings Of Leon decide to be a faithful classic-rock-revival band? For three albums, the band has teased fans with bits of twangy Southern throwback, only to lose the hooks in swirls of prog-rock, bursts of post-punk, or spacey expanses of moody atmospherics. Conventional wisdom positioned the Followill brothers as this generation's Allman Brothers, and they've finally relented with Only By The Night: The eerie guitar echo of the opener "Closer" suggests that the band is sticking with its experiments, but with the follow-up, "Crawl"—a pulsing, crushing rocker that's one of the band's best—it's clear they're ditching the indie legitimacy for the stadium-packing, lighter-waving crowd. Thankfully, it's a fully earnest aesthetic, and the record showcases a variety of songs without being crippled by the indulgent filler of albums past. At times, Only By The Night comes perilously close to adult-alternative ("Use Somebody" could have been written by Train), and even likeable songs such as "Notion" have something missing. The catchy track might initially get the "power ballad" label, but the measured, calculated pacing just doesn't have that much power. The Allmans would have let it rip.

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