Real or imaginary, necessary or unnecessary. In this day and age when both figurative and actual walls are raised and brought down at the same time, Kings of Leon take their stance and opt for them to come down. Starting off from the artwork on their latest record cover, which sees the Followills’ faces emerging from what seems like a milky pool. The faces have their immediately recognisable traits but they’ve been reproduced in a way that makes them look more feminine. The album title itself is an acronym which stands for We Are Like Love Songs.
In the eternal fight between consistency and reinvention, where do KOL stand? The band seem to have progressively opened up over the years and willing to embrace their transformation. The success they have enjoyed so far has had a tangible impact on their trademark sound, but it hasn’t completely compromised it.
Initially, WALLS seems split in two distinct halves. This impression however soon changes and it becomes apparent that the record’s structure metaphorically resembles a snake that sheds its skin – similarly here Kings of Leon gradually strip themselves of their edgier nature to reveal a more vulnerable side. The first few tracks are energetic, moderately fast-paced, radio-friendly songs packed with catchy choruses and hypnotising guitar licks then midway through the pace begins to slow down, exception made for Eyes On You which gives the album its final spark with its quick rhythm sequence and melody. The band’s walls have come down and the last track Walls, a ballad, seems to confirm this.
Apart from a general less heavy sound, the only novelty of the record comes from Muchacho, with its Latin-American soul, a musical style which nevertheless doesn’t go too far from the familiar Southern rock genre that characterised KOL’s early repertoire. Otherwise, rock anthems like Waste a Moment or Find Me, or even the tender Conversation Piece are pretty much what could be expected from the band. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, this only means Kings of Leon have created their very own sound and they like it as it is. In fact, WALLS is a good, solid album which will most likely sound even better live.
WALLS is out now, for more information on Kings of Leon and upcoming shows click here.