Words By Dylan Bryant
The Followills are back with yet another album that falls under their unwritten five-syllable album title rule and although rich with the bands classic rock sound and Caleb’s stand out vocals, there’s one big difference with the band’s latest release. The Nashville rockers have become the first band ever to release an album as a non-fungible token. But what exactly does this mean?
NFTs are part of the growing cryptocurrency industry and means instead of holding money, fans who invest will be able to hold assets such as art, tickets and of course; music. NFTs function on a blockchain which is a publicly visible network – which means anyone can see the details of any NFT transaction. The band have launched three types of tokens which fall under the series titled ‘NFT Yourself’. They each offer different perks ranging from a basic digital album package, to exclusive front row seats for life, as well as limited-edition artwork. Each of the tokens have been developed by YellowHeart, a company that aims to use cryptocurrency in order to bring value back to music. In this case, the value of the assets becomes subjective and will therefore fluctuate over time, much like stocks and shares.
‘When You See Yourself’ has been released via all the usual formats – streaming services, CDs and vinyl etc and the NFT version was only made available via YellowHeart. The token which was originally priced at $50 includes enhanced features such as alternative artwork, a digital download and a limited-edition vinyl. The band also released 18 ‘golden tickets’; 6 of which were auctioned. Each of these transpires to an actual concert ticket which includes front-row seats for life, a bespoke VIP service that includes a personal driver, a meet and greet with the band and an exclusive experience. This also marks the first time a music event ticket has been officially sold as an NFT.
Contrary to the band endorsing futuristic movements in the music industry, they return with a set of tracks that stays true to their crisp and regressive rock sound. ‘When You See Yourself’ starts with an opening track that builds momentum, delighting fans around the world with their trademark sound. The band have delivered an album that seems to use the same reliable recipe of their past albums which has seen them become one of the most respected rock bands of the 21st century. However, this album does have moments of experimentation, for example on ‘100,000 People’. The track offers a dreamy late-night atmosphere with the use of synths and a rhythmic drumbeat. A similar effect can be felt on one of the hidden gems on this album; ‘A Wave’. This track is reminiscent of the bands reflective sound on ‘Come Around Sundown’ and ‘Mechanical Bull’. Whilst ‘When You See Yourself’ serves up a more melodic and nonchalant tone, there are moments of energy that fit in with the bands ‘Youth and Young Manhood’ era. ‘Echoing’ serves as the standout track with a chorus that fits in with the band’s other hits. Finally, the leading single ‘The Bandit’ is the most representative of Kings of Leon’s classic sound and offers the same energy as their major hits, such as Use Somebody and Sex on Fire. Caleb’s iconic vocals are matched with screaming guitar riffs, a recurring drumbeat and a bass that carries its big sound that will hopefully be filling major arenas and festival stages again this summer.