Kings of who? Does anyone actually remember the Leon clan releasing a single sometime in the last year? A long time ago, before I decided to be a top dog and apply for university, I worked for the Kings. I spent thirteen hours selling overpriced, thin cotton t-shirts, that didn’t even have dates on the back, to fans who seemed to have a limitless supply of cash. Anyway, one of the highs of the job was getting to see the band for free; quite frankly I wish I hadn’t bothered. They were over ninety minutes late after a ‘hold up’ at London airport. Personally I think one of them spilled ketchup on their Levis and got sassy.
After their last record Come Around Sundown gracefully flopped the boys had unfinished business. The album kicks off with lead single ‘Supersoaker,’which for a few long seconds sounds very much like Mumford and Sons. However, lead singer Caleb’s favourite rough, gravelled voice comes in with the typical melodic tones that we’d expect. However over twelve tracks the amateur guitar playing becomes a fixed background noise drowning out Caleb’s throaty voice.
The standout track is probably ‘Rock City.’ With odd lyrics consisting of, “I can shake it like a woman,” the song suggests teenage angst and dry spells, however, the chorus is quite catchy with a far better tempo and gritty, heavier guitar pieces. As we continue, ‘Beautiful War’, a name Bono would be proud of, proves a softer side to the Kings, perhaps suggesting that Caleb’s voice is more suited to balladry.
Overall, Mechanical Bull presents songs with no real climax and little distinguishing features. The riffs sound like they’ve been copied and pasted from ‘Come Around Sundown’ with some different lyrics from a schoolboy’s diary and it seems as if Kings of Leon have rushed into producing an album that holds no distinctive features from their previous album. It is most certainly obvious from earlier albums that Kings of Leon have the creative ability and intelligence in terms of songwriting, but in order to keep up with a rapid change in the music industry, their albums have started to fit into commercial moulds. A far cry from the hairy, lumberjack days of ‘Molly’s Chambers’.