The Kings of Leon have existed since 1999. Their first three albums were the sound of rock'n'roll vitality so badly needed in the era of music consumerism, their youthful energy a seemingly symbol of authenticity. Early in their career they mainly coveted the UK market following little success at home in the USA. Nevertheless, their low-level status wouldn’t last. KOL literally blew up in 2008 when they released two monster songs that got huge radio play around the world. “Sex on Fire” and “Use Somebody” made Kings of Leon one of the biggest bands of the year. This was the start of a huge transformation in their style as well as their success moving from garage rock to stadium anthems.
At present the band don't sound youthful and cocky anymore, instead of this they do sound more polished and confident.
Their seventh album “WALLS” (an acronym for We Are Like Love Songs) is mostly sleek and far more pop-oriented than anything else they have ever done. The band seems to have attempted to deviate from their norm, nabbing bits and pieces from different genres to make the album into a diverse. The album contains such topics as heartbreak, death, and addiction. Although main part of the album is fueled by dark thoughts, the sound is light and airy.
Album opener "Waste a Moment" allows swirling guitar to bring in a good little melody. Fully danceable, bright and energized, this track sets the tone for the entirety of the album. The following track "Reverend" with shimmering guitar arpeggios layered across an aggressive rhythm feels like music that is harmonically pleasant. The third track “Around the World” with a slightly danceable beat was conceived as a summer anthem, perfect for driving on the highway with the windows down. On the six minute confessional "Over", Caleb reflects on the correlation between alcohol addiction and fame, referencing to his life experience.
Another beautiful piece, "Muchacho" with latin percussion is a slower song which is dedicated to a deceased amigo.
Upbeat “Wild” returns to the brighter sounds and a pleasant enough guitar riff that incites to relaxation.
The title track "WALLS" causes mixed feelings and reflections on life, love, and pursuit of happiness. Caleb sings of how love shatters emotional and mental "walls". The main idea “When the walls come down” requires reinvention and makes you take a different look at familiar things.
Overall, "WALLS" is a great album, even with all its obvious commercial focus. Especially well it is suitable for radio due to its pleasant and soft sound.