on 15 March 2007
I'm a big KoL fan and I had been waiting or this album for a long time. In my opinion, it's certainly a progression from the previous two albums - more mature with more going on musically. So much so, that there is a lot to take in on the first listen, i'd argue. I recommend listening to it again either immediately or a little later and the really album comes to life.
The overall sound is quite different to Y&YM and ASH, which were more striped down in comparison. This album, to me at least, has somewhat of an 80s vibe to it. Not the bad stuff, rather all the decent guitar bands of the era. "Charmer" for example, sounds remarkably like something off of Pixies' "Sufer Rosa" or "Doolittle" albums, it's uncanny, complete with screams, repetitive bassline, distorted guitar chords and leads. "McFearless" reminds me of early U2 material. "Black Thumbnail" opens with a more familiar KoL sound but soon rocks out hard, when they step on the gas. Incidentally, the heavy parts on this album really are a lot heavier and fuller than on previous albums and will certainly get you moving.
on 2 March 2007
This is the album I have been waiting for, for years.
I have followed the Kings of Leon since first seeing them in the New Bands Tent at Glastonbury many moons ago, and have been a huge fan ever since.
No other band have touched me musically since their first album rocked it's way into my life, and I thought I had heard it all when the second album stormed it's way onto my playlist, but seriously, they have surpassed themselves.
This album is simply wonderful. It has a beating heart that kicks all sort of a**e in all sorts of directions.
I note that the previous reviewer says it's slower that Aha Shake Heartbreak.
How can Knocked up, On Call, McFearless, Ragoo or Fans be classed as slow ? And that's not even mentioning Charmer, the second track, that blew my mind when I first heard those stucco yelps.
I admit, there are a FEW slow ones, but that's on an album of 13 tracks. Hardly a majority.
All in all, this is an album that has totally gone beyond my wildest dreams as a third offering from a band that haven't really even made it in the US, and who owe all their success to a loyal fan base in the UK.
Musically, this album is just astounding. The drums are of a clarity I haven't heard since Secret Machines. The guitars are either fuzzy, crisp, or mind bendingly bendy. And they don't sound confused. It all fits together perfectly. And Caleb's singing is just insane. Enough said.
on 19 April 2010
This album is what makes me say these guys are the best, most original band since Led Zeppelin. And, please believe me, I do not say that lightly. No rock 'n' roll party album, this is truly haunting. The intricate, layered guitars are more grown up and sophisticated than pretty much anything else out there at the moment, at least in the almost-mainstream. They capture what it means to be a youngish, principled but slightly aggro, man in the 21st century, and they do it absolutely perfectly. Knocked Up, True Love Way, Ragoo, Fans, Arizona are the haunting anthemics that stay with you. That's 5 whole tracks FFS. Camaro is my fave. The CD is probably less then the price of a beer by now, just buy it. And then all the others.
on 29 November 2007
I don't tend to give things 5 stars in reviews. It makes them seem near-perfect, lacking of flaws. This isn't usually the case, but with Because of the Times, it's nothing but. This really is the album Kings of Leon have been striving to make since day one. The Followill brothers laid incredibly strong foundations with their previous efforts, venturing in two very distinct directions with Youth & Young Manhood and Aha Shake Heartbreak. I've always been a fan, but felt there was something lacking. Now I just sit back and enjoy this modern masterpiece for what it is. It's not just the best album I've bought all year, it's the most satisfying purchase of 2007. And with such amazing stand-out tracks as Knocked Up (a haunting 7:00 behemoth), On Call (the most unlikely KOL hit to date), Black Thumbnail (pure party goodness), Ragoo (in my top 20 all-time favourites) and Camaro (simply amazing - dripping 'cool'), it's hard not to let this album become life-affirming. I may sound like an obsessive, but when an album is this good, it really is hard not to be.
Currently it's £6.99 - a steal, for the artwork alone
on 3 May 2007
It would be easy for me to make a statement about Bob Dylan judging by my review title. But maybe Caleb Followill will be as successful with his brothers and cousin over the next ten years or more. He has a somewhat similar voice to Dylan for one thing. Talent is another thing completely.
So we have the third effort from the brilliant Kings of Leon. I personally valued their debuts as one of the best debuts I had heard, where as the follow-up was good, but the spark was missing. Here, on 'Because of the Times', that spark returns.
This isn't just some stupid effort to sell-out. These guys are serious. You can tell right from the beginning that this is going to be something quite special. Collaboratng again with long-time producer Ethan Johns, these guys are looking for consistency and progression at the same time.
The opener, 'Knocked Up', is a slow-burning, seven-minute something track that opens proceedings. The music is excellent, and Caleb's lyrics and voice is brilliant. 'I don't care what nobody says, we're gonna have a baby', Caleb sings quietly but with a sense of defiance in there as well. 10/10.
Track two, 'Charmer', is, in my opinion, the best track, vocally, at least, on the whole album. The song begins with the bass guitar, and the other guitars kick in soon after with the drums. Caleb's unique vocals mix in with a high-pitched screech at the beginning of each line of each verse. This is good Southern rock n' roll. 10/10.
Track three, 'On Call', is the first single to be released off the album, and it's quite easy to see why. It's catchy, with the growling guitars of Led Zeppelin and a touch of Thin Lizzy, this is KOL, musically, at their best. Matthew Followill's solo is brilliant over the excellent 'I'll come out running...' pieces of the song. KOL are musically tighter than ever. Brilliant, even though sometimes the track can get rather repetitive. 9/10.
Track four, 'McFearless', sees the focus instantly on the drummer, and the eldest of the three brothers, Nathan Followill's brilliant drumming pattern. The song isn't the best, vocally on the album, but the music is brilliant, and includes a rip-roaring, yet anthemic chorus. KOL create a big, anthemic sound here, while maintaining their original sound at the same time. 9/10.
Track five, 'Black Thumbnail', is my favourite KOL track on the album. Caleb Followill's vocals are brilliant. The song has a somewhat 'swing' drumbeat to it, and the chorus is fantastic. The heaviest KOL track I think they've made. That chorus is furious, but brilliant. 10/10.
Track six, 'My Party', is probably the funkiest track on the album, and this is what makes this third KOL album the best of the bunch so far, the fact that it's so diverse. It's punchy, it's brilliant, it's infectious. 10/10.
Track seven, 'True Love Way', is where the KOL begin to slow things down, and is seen as the halfway point of the album, if you like. This, in my opinion, has the most anthemic opening of any track on this album, maybe it could be mistaken for an Arcade Fire intro, like into 'Rebellion (Lies)' on their 'Funeral' album. There's no taking away the brilliance of this track though, undoubtedly brilliant. 9/10.
Track eight, 'Ragoo', has a slight reggae vibe to it. Not my favourite track on the album, but nevertheless an excellent track. 8/10.
Track nine, 'Fans', is one of my real favourites here. Starts with an electric power chord before acoustic guitars come in. The verses are pure genius- coupled with Caleb's brilliant voice. 10/10.
Track ten, 'The Runner', is probably in truth the most anthemic track n the whole album. Another soft, acoustic track, and it makes for easy listening. All combine their voices at the end to sing the last few lines, to finish the song on an effective note. 8/10.
Track eleven, 'Trunk', has a creepy ambience to it, that being the delay effect being put on Caleb's vocals, as if he's in the middle of nowhere, although he does say 'I got one mile to go on down the road....'. The 'woo' chorus is quite anthemic once more, but the song does have a dark ambience to it. Could be dismissed as filler, as it is the album's weakest track, but it isn't that bad. 7/10.
Track twelve, 'Camaro', sees a return to form. Jared Followill's bass kicks in and the song turns into one of the best driving songs this year. 'She looks so cool in her new Camaro,' Caleb Followill sings with maybe a hint of envy, although I'm sure he can afford one or more himself! Probably the album's best track, musically, since 'On Call'. 10/10.
Track thirteen, 'Arizona', is just gorgeous. The solo guitaring is just brilliant. You can imagine driving down an open road on a hot summer's day with this song on. Five minutes of glorious guitar music. Absolutely brilliant. For that reason alone I'm giving this song 10/10.
What do I make of BOTT then?
Where as their debut was understandably hailed as one of the best of their category...their follow-up could be seen as rather disappointing, as it was predictable and too short. This offering ticks all the right boxes though. It isn't too short, neither is it too long at 52 minutes. The music has gone up a notch, as has the vocals. The songs are written better, and the KOL are back where they belong- at the forefront of American rock.