Listening to yet another album by a band that has long stagnated can only torture the soul. Fortunately for us, the Kings of Leon reaches new realms of creativity in “Only By The Night,” its latest release. The band’s fourth official album propels this Nashville quartet past the overdone, classic rock of yesteryear and into a deep, relatable, soulful movement. These Southern boys have truly found their sound.
“Closer,” the CD’s opening track, sets the pace for the rest of the album. The song combines depth and introspection with uncharacteristically clean instrumentals. Caleb Followill’s vocals are as raw as ever, but there’s a passion there that makes “Closer” easy to get lost in. Similarly, tracks like “Use Somebody” and “Manhattan” speak to the listener on an almost primal level. “Only By the Night” retains a bit of the bluesy quality of Kings of Leon favorites like “The Bucket,” while forging ahead with the personal yet edgy cuts that listeners have come to expect.
“Sex on Fire” is the biggest nod this CD gives to the Kings of Leon’s earlier releases. True to the band’s roots, this song could easily be a collaboration between Aerosmith and the Strokes. Followill’s coarse voice is strained to the max on the powerful, commanding track, but the ultimate result is pure lyrical and instrumental bliss.
“Only By the Night” is, without question, the product of a more mature Kings of Leon. The album is absolutely captivating, and proves once and for all that the band has genuine staying power.