In the early days of Kings of Leon’s career, their sound was as southern as bourbon, fried chicken, and the confederacy, harping back to their Tennessee roots. The fraternal four piece became known for their ability to pump out pounding bluesy tunes throughout the early 2000s, as well as their synonymity with the south.
However, as the decade went on, this innovative sound evolved into something darker and moodier, with the bands’ eyes clearly set on international arena stages, rather than southern dive bars. Yes, ‘Sex On Fire’ was a huge hit, commercially and critically, and carved Kings of Leon’s name into the mainstream music scene, as well as earning them multiple dazzling awards, but it is undeniable that their initial appeal, vibe and ‘je ne sais quoi’ was beginning to wane.
Their previous album ‘Mechanical bull’, which was released in 2013, did little other than demonstrate the need for a shake-up, and hiatuses, break-up rumours and personal problems solidified this view. After a three year break, the band have returned with their latest single, ‘Waste A Moment’, a more indie inspired track that urges listeners to take a break from the monotony and pains of everyday life.
No doubt it strays from the iconic ‘southern garage-boogie’ sound of their younger years but they key accomplishment of the track is that the band have managed to avoid falling into the ‘stadium syndrome’ trap that they’ve been prey to over the past five years.
Instead, their sound appears to be embarking on a new and refreshing era and despite, the dismay of long-term and die-hard fans at this metamorphosis, the much-needed shake-up of their style has arguably done them some good. ‘Waste A Moment’ is the lead-single from their album ‘WALLS’, set for release in October, and the new style that the track exhibits appears to be the refreshing change that they were in desperate need of.
Yes, their authentic Southern charm is somewhat lacing from the track, but it has been replaced with a new, exciting energy. It is safe to say that the single does not sound like the work of a band who have been together and been on the road for over 15 years, let alone a family band with such longevity. From the beginning of the track, listeners are treated to a change of direction: the song’s opening bars do not sound like a Kings of Leon track, but after seven albums, that should be seen as a good thing.
Elements of the single, especially the guitar and percussion, sound more like something written by The Vaccines, which is exactly the sort of faster paced youthful energy that Kings of Leon have been lacking over the past few years. Indeed, the lyrical content is hardly ground-breaking, and there is still an element of the overthought seriousness that prevailed in their previous two albums, but if the rest of the record carries on in this direction, then Kings of Leon are set for a triumphant return.