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on 23 September 2013
Mechanical Bull is the sixth studio album from Kings of Leon.

It's been about ten years since the Followill's showed up here in the UK. I distinctly remember the freshness and vitality of 'Red Morning Light' and 'Molly's Chambers' from their debut Youth And Young Manhood performed so authentically on Later with Jools Holland.

Bassist Jared (the one who had a pigeon drop one in his mouth during a show in St Louis) seems to think that the music of this album is some of their most complex yet but also has a youthful zest comparable to their first two albums. Of course, he would say that. Because enough has already been made of how the band have detoured down the stadium rock back route at the expense of musical originality.

On first listens, Mechanical Bull is perhaps a better description of albums four and five - and stands as one of the more intriguing of their more recent work. But ultimately it remains more in line with a low-risk formula that has haunted the band since the success of 'Sex on Fire'. It's a step in the right direction and the aptly titled 'Comeback Story' shines a glimmer of hope that the band are rediscovering their original delight ('Family Tree' will get the crowds chanting too), but there are too many ineffective tracks in the middle that leave it still short from what they should be achieving.

So much better than Come Around Sundown but I am beginning to think we may have already seen their best.
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Disappointing. I think this is going to be my last Kings Of Leon purchase, unless I hear something from them that changes my mind. This album is a very tame, unexciting version of the band, almost like a modern-day Eagles. In fact, I almost feel as if I'm insulting the spirit of The Eagles by making the comparison, but the soft-rock/country feel of this album really warrants the comparison. Believe me, I don't enjoy criticising a band I really like, I've been a fan of the Kings Of Leon since the very first album and have very much enjoyed much of their output, especially their first three releases, but "Mechanical Bull", despite the rather macho title is a damp squib. I've given this a few listens and, although it's fairly decent, there aren't the riffs, the leftfield arrangements or the sheer adrenaline rush present here that made their earlier material so vital.

There are a few songs on here I've grown to really like which make this album almost worth buying - "Rock City", "Don't Matter" and "Family Tree". They all contain some of the Kings Of Leon sound and attitude that made me a fan and the latter, despite its compositional simplicity, is probably my favourite from "Mechanical Bull". It's funny, but "Supersoaker", one of the supposed hits from the album, really hasn't grabbed me at all and too much of the album is simply average. I'm sure the diehard Kings Of Leon fans will defend this album, calling it "amazing" and I'm resigned to the negative votes for this lukewarm review, but it just doesn't measure up to their own standards, let alone other brilliant albums you can buy at the moment. This is one Kings Of Leon fan who will need a lot of persuasion to spend hard cash on any further release. Back to the drawing board, gents.
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on 24 November 2013
after one listen i thought ,yes a good kings of leon album , i then put it on in my van and listened to it on the way to work and on the way home ,by the 3rd time i realised what a fantastic album it is with some good tracks and some pure classics , the base line on "family tree " is amazing . i would recommend any person buying this album will be totally hooked as i was by the 3rd listen . Enjoy .....
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on 31 December 2013
I am so sick and tired of this band being criticised for releasing albums that sound "different." Ever since Only By The Night, many self-professed "true fans" (whatever that means) bleat on and on about how the Kings have "sold out" or completely changed their style blah blah blah.
I've never been into the whole hipster movement of only liking underground artists and turning on them as soon as they achieve commercial success and I don't believe that "different" is a valid criticism. I like that each of their six albums sound different. Isn't it logical that people mature, change and develop?!
I genuinely love every album they've ever released and this is not some contrived, slavish response - if I did not like something they released, I would have no problem in saying so. Ignore all reviews, good and bad, and simply listen with unbiased ear and make up your own mind. If you genuinely don't enjoy Mechanical Bull, fair enough. But if you don't like it because it sounds so different from previous releases then maybe you could stand to be a little more progressive and open minded.
As usual with KOL, the vocals take centre stage and Wow! What a voice that is! Coming Back Again is a stunner with an energy and a swagger that does not fade with repeated listen. Beautiful War is, er, beautiful and Rock City is as much fun as a song can be whilst retaining musical and lyrical integrity. I will ride this Mechanical Bull for a long time yet!
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on 20 November 2013
The album has been out for the best part of two months, and we can now agree the dust has settled. The initial hype has died down - as have the usual criticisms that the band have sold themselves out - and I feel we can now subjectively look at what is, in truth, a very good album from Kings of Leon.

The album opens with a traditional KoL radio-friendly stomper - "Supersoaker". It is essentially a hyped-up rewrite of Radioactive, the lead single from the previous album, but it's poppy demeanour and fun-sounding energy mean it could quite happily slot anywhere amongst the band's material from 'Because Of The Times', which remains one of their most-loved records. It's definitely a stadium-designed song, and the sing-along chorus will ensure it asserts itself as a fans favourite in very little time.

It's a strong opener which then slips into track two: "Rock City", a bluesy number that echoes of the band's earlier work. Following this is one of the album's definite highlights: "Don't Matter". Distinctly heavier than the vast majority of the band's previous work, this is an absolute stomper that will get the crowds going. It's an eloquent mix of Sex Pistols-meet-Queens of the Stone Age punk, and it boasts some of the best guitar work we've had the pleasure of hearing from the talented Matthew Followill. Caleb, the lead singer, sounds absolutely evil in this song. It ranks amongst the band's most enjoyable songs yet.

"Beautiful War" follows; a song which is arguably the best of the lot as far as KoL are concerned. It is a slow number that echoes "Use Somebody" from 'Only By The Night', but the driving bassline and haunting backing vocals create a successful homage to a lot of U2's best material; indeed, the rhythm section shares a resemblance to "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," which, let's be fair, is certainly no bad thing.

Track five is "Temple", which is pleasant enough without being particularly memorable. Just when you think that the album might just follow the same path as "Come Around Sundown" and slip into mediocrity, it is rescued by "Wait For Me", another "Use Somebody"-esque anthem that features some ethereal guitar parts akin to "Manhattan" from the band's fourth album. It's the third major highlight of the album, and is most definitely likely to gather commercial success when it is inevitably released as a single.

The album only continues to improve - whilst previous KoL records have come unstuck with mediocrity plaguing their good work at the mid-way point, this album goes from strength to strength with "Comeback Story" and first "Family Tree". A Steve Wonder-inspired number, Jared's funky bassline acts as the backbone to a song sure to get the crowd moving, whilst it is another paint-by-numbers sing-along chorus that you can imagine being sung back to the band by a stadium of 50,000 beer-drinking fans! "Comeback Story" is a nod to the wonderful "Back Down South" from the previous record: it is a country tune which also features a beautiful orchestral composition during the chorus. It's a wonderful piece of work and represents the band doing what they do best; having fun - indeed, the lyric "I walk a mile in your shoes/ and now I'm a mile away/ and I've got your shoes' is a nod to KoL being at their mischievous best.

"Tonight" is track nine, and it echoes "The Immortals" from the last record. You can argue this is more of the same from the band, but it is a positive arena-friendly song that at least makes for pleasant hearing. "Coming Back Again" follows, which is a high-octane stomper akin to "Don't Matter", but with its abundance in "oh-ohs" during the chorus it'll serve as a crowd-pleaser without a doubt.

The album closes with the country song "On The Chin"; a strange choice to end on considering how pumped-up this album is in comparison to the mellowness of "Come Around Sundown", but it is another radio-friendly number that acknowledges the band's southern roots.

Bonus tracks include "Work on Me" and "Last Mile Home". You can see why they weren't included in the original release as they are pretty standard KoL works, but again, they make for pleasant listening.

The bottom line is that this is most definitely a very listenable album from the band. Yes, it is largely radio-friendly, but the diversity between some of the mellow country songs to the sheer hysteria of the likes of "Don't Panic", and to stadium stompers like "Supersoaker". The range of song styles is great without offering anything particularly new; but if it ain't broke, why fix it? Overall this represents a return to form for the band, offering their most complete record since 'Only By The Night', but perhaps their most revolutionary work since their third record was released, way back in 2007. It is an album that does have a few forgettable moments - the ending is a little inconspicuous, and whilst songs like "Temple" and "Rock City" are listenable without being particularly memorable, the abundance of high points - "Supersoaker", "Don't Matter", "Beautiful War", "Wait For Me", "Comeback Story" and "Family Tree" are sure to become staples in the band's live performances for many years to come.

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on 6 August 2014
Well worth a listen. The more you listen, it grows and grows on you. Less chart, more rock, country and hillbilly.
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on 5 October 2013
Quite good nowhere near as good as their second album but all songs have the unmistakeable sound of the Kings of Leon. I would say that this is a much better albeit a bit mellower than there last album. An album that grows on me more and more every time I listen to it. If a fan you won't be disappointed.
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on 25 September 2013
Once upom a time the Kings of Leon were my new favourite band but we parted company long ago when after 3 genuinely thrilling albums they morphed into the the American U2. Propelled by the ghastly Sex On Fire the turned into a dreary, middle of the road, arms in the air sing-a-long-a-chorus stadium rock band. After reading a few reviews I had high hopes for this album but sadly it is more of the same, the few bright spots weigh down with dull songwriting and lumpen stadium rock - what the band are pleased to call experimentation. So it looks as if we will have to wait a little longer for a return to the sound that made the King such an exciting band. Sad.
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on 23 September 2013
It was only until last year that I've started listening to their music. Although, I have heard their hit music before like Molly's Chamber, Use Somebody, etc.. on the radio and other sources.
I listened to all their albums and obviously, there are some tracks that aren't to my "taste".

So far, I'm loving this new album. There is just something about their music/tunes that makes me keep listening for longer. As one reviewer already mentioned, Supersoaker was in instant hit for me as well. "Don't Matter" didn't sink in until I kept listening to it a dozen more times. And the most recent, Family Tree, they played on BBC Radio 1, had the same impact on me like Supersoaker did.

Now, I'm not going to review each single track. I love music but not to the point that I analyse and criticize it.

This album was definitely worth my purchase.
If you're a fan of the Kings then by all means, buy it. Of course, you can always preview and listen to their new tracks before buying here on Amazon or whichever e-tailer you prefer.
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on 30 September 2013
After the last album I wasn't expecting much from KOL, but this return to form comes as a pleasant surprise. First time I heard it streaming I liked almost every track, and my opinion hasn't changed, with "Don't Matter" and "Family Tree" my stand-out songs. If you're looking for a return to the rawnwess of the first three albums you'll be disappointed; those much loved rough edges have been polished. But what you do get are catchy, hook laden songs, played by a rejuvenated band on form.
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