The Followill boys traded in thrift shop clothes and garage band sounds for Fifth Avenue threads and arena-rocking musicianship for their 2008 worldwide smash Only by the Night. And while the follow-up Come Around Sundown stops just short of outright rejecting fame, high fashion and rock hedonism, the sons and nephew of a preacher man sound like they want to go home again.
“It’s in the water, it’s where you came from,” Caleb Followill wails over an ‘amen’ gospel corner and the familiar wall of ringing guitars from cuz Matthew on “Radioactive,” while on “The Face,” the frontman croons, “If you give up New York, I’ll give up Tennessee.”
It’s an interesting benchmark for Kings of Leon whose quest for authenticity sometimes conflicts with the instantly anthemic music they, now, prolifically craft. While showing disdain for bandwagon fans live, Caleb’s made-for-rock growl and his relatives’ growing mastery of their instruments seem poised to once again to get more people to hop onboard.