The Comeback Kings

Alternative rock has always had a way to reinvent itself into new and exciting genres. Some alternative bands have decided to go more electronic, others go for distortion, many for commercial and a few for more soulful creations. This is just like life, you have to reinvent yourself in order to move ahead, but in the end people value when you stay true to your roots and innovate through that. Kings of Leon is a band that exemplifies this idea well. It’s been 10 years since their debut album “Youth & Young Manhood,” which completely showed the world a little taste from the prolific country city that is Nashville, Tennessee. The different thing about this quartet was that they didn’t want to make country music, but good old fashioned rock and roll.

They were not paid very much attention in their own country after 2 more studio albums, 2004’s “Aha Shake Heartbreak” and 2007’s “Because of the Times.” Both of these albums made them superstars in the United Kingdom. The Kings were grateful for their success in British territory and they showed this in the 2007 single Fans, where lead singer Caleb Followill drops the famous line “all of London sing, because England swings and they sure love the tales I bring.” While huge in the UK, their homeland still was behind of the curve on their Southern rock extravaganza.

It wasn’t until 2008’s “Only by the Night” that America listened to what the Kings had to say. Sex on Fire and Use Somebody stormed the nation and the world. Both singles gained constant airplay and brought them Grammy nominations, taking home Record of the Year, Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song for Use Somebody. The band had finally conquered its homeland and embarked on a world tour that would take them to hundreds of cities all over the globe.

After mainstream success, bands tend to experiment a bit more and change it up, which is what they did with 2010’s “Come Around Sundown.” Darker in some tracks like The End and back to its Southern roots withs Back Down South, the album was a fresh start and was well received, although not doing as well commercially as their previous record. They still managed to sell out many shows on their new tour; however, towards the middle of 2011, the live performances were below average, mostly because of the high amount of alcohol being consumed by the frontman. The chemistry on stage was harmed by this and led to an incident that would put a huge question mark on the band’s future. On July 27, 2011, singer Caleb Followill was heavily intoxicated and started speaking nonsense to the crowd, he said he had to go vomit and he would come back and play a couple more songs. As it turns out, he never came back. Caleb ended up going to rehab and the band declared themselves in hiatus, assuring fans that it would be no longer than 6 months. All remaining concerts were canceled without being rescheduled.

The media speculated with the fate of the Kings as each of the members went their separate ways for a while (even though they’re all family.) Bass player Jared even had the opportunity to work on a side project called Smoke & Jackal. Nevertheless, fans remained patient and waited for their return.

Although not overly obsessive of their social media usage, the band managed to excite fans by posting random pictures of instruments and props inside their recording studio. This hinted that new material was on the way and the comeback of the Kings would happen very soon. On July 17, 2013, almost two years after Caleb left the building, the band finally released the lead single for their new album “Mechanical Bull,” titled Supersoaker. The song was very well received by fans and the media, praising the new sound and the awaited comeback. After several media appearances and even a concert through Amex Unstaged, the band slowly introduced some of its new songs. The second single Wait For Me was released on August 6th. The official release of the album will be on September 24th in the United States. However, it has already been made available for streaming online.

After a few full listens of “Mechanical Bull,” the band truly seems to have regained their chemistry and it really shows on the additions of new elements like the synthesizer in some of the songs. Caleb’s vocals are as characteristic as ever and manage to grasp the attention of the listener. The bass gains even more prominence, following the footsteps of this concept in their previous record. The guitar solos also make a surprising and explosive appearance in a few songs. Overall, the album will be able to please old and new fans of the band, especially with soon-to-be crowd favorite Temple. Please make way for the return of the Kings!

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