It’s hard to think of a more highly anticipated album to come out this year than Only by the Night – the fourth offering from recently confirmed superstars, Kings of Leon. Following swiftly from their 2007 release – the breathtaking Because of the Times – the band only increased the already fever-pitch levels of hype surrounding the album’s release by bagging themselves a Number One single with ‘Sex on Fire’.
So, is Only by the Night worth the hype? Is it Kings of Leon’s magnum opus? Their Ok Computer?
Alas, as is so often the case, Only by the Night does not quite live up to its billing – all the more of a tragedy because the album starts so promisingly. Opening track ‘Closer’, with its powerfully mechanical drums and mournful wailing guitar hints at an exciting new direction for the band, while the belligerent, Zeppelin-esque ‘Crawl’ satisfyingly ups the octane, setting the album up for lead single ‘Sex on Fire’.
But after this blistering start the album loses momentum and never gets going again. Fourth track, ‘Use Somebody’, is a competent ballad, but lacks edge, while ‘Revelry’ and ‘Notion’ feel like songs that didn’t quite make the cut on Because of the Times.
Only by the Night isn’t a bad album by any means – it’s far superior to most of the stuff that clogs up the charts at the moment and has got some really great tracks on it. It’s just not quite as exciting or inventive as their previous album – and that’s the first time you’ve been able to say that about Kings of Leon.