One would be hard-pressed to find a mainstream rock band that has evolved their sound as drastically, and with as much cohesion, as Kings of Leon. From the early country-blues of Youth and Young Manhood and Aha Shake Heartbreak, to far more melodic, alternative sounds of Come Around Sundown, the Kings of Leon have managed to keep a style in all their music as familiar as it is distinct.
It’s only fitting that the Followill brothers’ latest album, Mechanical Bull, is a culmination of all this evolution—eventually coalescing into an album that manages to both integrate and celebrate over 10 years of musical history.
The distinction from the Kings’ early work to their later albums can immediately be seen in their two singles, “Supersoaker” and “Wait For Me.” The former kicks off the album in an explosion of energy, with lyrics practically drenched in 1950s era Americana, before transitioning into tracks steeped in the same vibe that marked the Kings’ earlier, twangier pieces. While “Wait for Me” shifts the album into the far mellower, more melodious pieces that characterized albums like Only By the Night, both songs must be commended for the same spectacular bass lines that have come to distinguish many of the Kings’ work.
When it comes down to it, Mechanical Bull is an album that revels in the band’s history—playing with a kind of enthusiasm that will appeal to both old fans and new fans alike.