I had read a lot of reviews before purchasing this album, and to be honest I was a bit put off. After playing it for a day I realized I shouldn't have been worried at all; this is an excellent album by one of the most unique bands of the last 20 years.
Some reviewers have called the album bland and accused it of having many tracks sounding the same, I couldn't disagree more. There are many influences that ring through on this album, from the 50's diner sound of 'Mary', to the heavy country sound of the excellent 'back down south'. 'Beach side' has a surf music feel to it and 'Mi amigo' has a reggae type of guitar throughout. No matter which song is on, the sound will be what the KOL have consistently delivered; heavy bass-lines, infectious guitar, quality drumming and raw, honest lyrics, but as with all the KOL releases, the package is greater than the sum of its parts.
As one reviewer has already stated, the 'sex on fire', 'notion', 'fans' and 'four kicks' anthem style tracks are not here with the exception of 'radioactive'. But, the songwriting on here is of a really high standard and reminds me more of 'because of the times'(my personal favorite) rather than 'only by the night', and in my opinion this album is much better than the last.
I love the album. I've had it for almost a week and its been played every day and it is quality from start to finish. Play any song and you'll know you are listening to the Kings of Leon, immediately. Even with all the influences on the album, every track is stamped with the distinct KOL sound; their essence is in every song. Listen to the album; I'm sure you'll buy it after you have.