Kings of Leon: Come Around Sundown

Categories: Review Roundup
​Some Tennessee band named Kings of Leon releases their fifth album today. They were once edgy and full of youth, but all that has been replaced by a workmanlike stance on musical accomplishment and profit. Lead singer Caleb Followill is at the front of all this -- dismissing indie bands and hating "fucking hipsters" while being a judge on Iron Chef America

A judge on Iron fucking Chef. Just look at him. What the fuck happened to this band? What the fuck happened to Caleb Followill? I sure as shit don't know, but I give up.

Since Kings of Leon were first embraced by UK fans, who lead them down this terrible path, today's reviews will be from British publications.

What the British critics are saying:

BBC Music: Come Around Sundown, however, is where "aw shucks" becomes Picks-N-Sticks. While 2008's Only by the Night was a tentative grasp for arena atmospheres on record, here they settle into their new, plush, A-list comfort zone. Inevitably this means a loss of edge - there are cod-soul bass interludes on Birthday that could be being played by Sting, and the shadow of the Eagles hangs heavier than ever over Mi Amigo.

The Telegraph: The fifth album from the Followill brothers (and cousin Cameron) is a rougher, rawer proposition than 2008's six‑million selling blockbuster, Only By the Night. Not that they have retreated from the big music, nor veered off on some flight of self-indulgent experimentalism.

The Guardian: There are few sounds in rock more self-evident than a band not enjoying themselves, and so it proves. There's something workmanlike and contagiously weary about The Face and The Wave as they trudge joylessly along. You hear all the same sounds that powered Sex on Fire and Use Somebody - the echoing, Edge-like guitar, the reverb that makes everything sound like it's already booming around a vast sports arena - but nothing to match their dizzily uplifting choruses: the single Radioactive is about as good as it gets.

NME: But no. 'Come Around Sundown' is none of those things. It's not a leftfield swerve. It's a stately modern rock album that's so desperate to prove its own authenticity it forgets to be remotely moving. This is music designed to be blasted from drive-time FM radios, and to waft around arenas big enough to have pigeons nesting (and shitting) in the echoing rafters.

Come Around Sundown is out now via RCA.

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I actually love the new KOL record. "Come Around Sundown" is definitely different from their older stuff, and I'm glad their experimenting with different vibes. I love "Come Around Sundown" because it was unexpected.


You're pretty much spot-on Michael. I love the older records, but at the same time I'm not someone who wants them to go back to that southern-fried rock sound just for good times sake. I'm more disappointed in the route that they chose, how they changed overnight in both appearance and sound. It was just a very obvious sell-out move. It's not horrible music, but it's not them either. I think they're trying to be something they're not, and they know it.

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