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The Monday Meh! – Kings of Leon

One of the images of the 90s was supermodel Eva Herzivogová staring at her ample bosoms clad only in a black bra. To much nudge-nudge, wink-winkery the caption read ‘Hello Boys’. Yes, it was the Wonderbra, the single most disingenuous invention of the last fifty years. Many a young lady would look devilishly saucy in a nightclub, but when you got down to the nub of the matter, it was all lies. The problem with a wonderbra was that, like the Millennium Dome, it looked mightily impressive from the outside but in reality there was nothing inside worth seeing.

Kings of Leon are the musical equivalent. They look great. They have all the tools. But their music is just so unremittingly average that it makes you question what the point is.

When they first arrived, wielding uncompromising beards and claiming to be a group of brothers and cousins from the rural backwoods, they seemed different. The music was certainly not the rawest form of American soul and blues you’d ever hear, but it was at least different from what had become a tiresome procession of a thousand Strokes wannabes coming out of the continent. A ‘difficult’ second album saw knives out for the band, who clearly decided that all that bluesy shit had got them noticed, but there was money to be had here. So out came the razors, off came the beards and in came the U2 sound and the stadium tours.

And, to be fair, it worked. Caleb is blessed with movie star looks. The band make music which sounds massive initially, like Arcade Fire, but is actually vapid and empty, like wonderbra breasts. They pout, and preen, and make massive 80s sounding rock songs. It’s as if someone plays them ‘No Surrender’ every time they go into the studio and they bash out their best Xerox.

They are enormous, and they are only going to get bigger. Hopefully, when the houses are paid for and the status is secured, they can get back to making proper music again. In the meantime, they’ll be in an arena near you, people who think American Idiot is the last word in punk subversion will go and every one will be happy, while those who like their rock a bit more…well, real, will visit with the Black Keys, the Hold Steady and the Gaslight Anthem. Who, incidentally, are on the verge of a huge commercial breakthrough too. You don’t have to be bland to be big.


8 Responses

  1. You’re completely right. I used to love Kings of Leon in the “Youth and Young Manhood”/”Aha Shake Heartbreak” days but now they’re too vacuous, generic and that big sound is like a balloon – shiny on the outside, full of hot air on the inside.
    Great blog 🙂

  2. I remember going to see KOL at the horrible Academy about 6 years ago, 1st album/Molly’s Chambers not long out.
    Quite excited about the show as there was fuck all else doing the rounds at the time,despite the album being patchy. In fact, it was downright weak in places.
    Anyway, they sucked the big one. Totally boring.
    I always thought that tale about the preacher father, doing the rounds of snake-oil churches, living in a car, being brothers etc was a bit far-fetched.
    They arrived way too fully formed for that. That story definitely concocted by some pony-tailed, satin-tour-jacketed Artie Pupkin-a-like from the record company.
    Cynical, me?

  3. werent the KOL “discovered ” by the same pop guru who “discovered ” the strokes…….. and then catapulted them to stardom with the brilliant idea of releasing as their first single tom pettys American Girl but with the words changed ?

  4. Scarlet – Thank you, and you are spot on. Good start, slow middle, dull currently!

    HW – agreed, looked like a record exec’s idea of what My Morning jacket were.

    RSD – If you are gonna rip something off, rip off something great!

  5. I don’t have much of an opinion on KOL, but I do like Mollys Chambers a lot. I agree the singer is top totty though which does raise their game a little!!

  6. ……anyway, lets get back to slaughtering that wee dick Paolo Nutella. Saw him on the news last night and nearly choked on my sun-dried tomatoes and goujons…..

  7. Ah, Nuttuni…what can one say? A voice like a drunken stroke victim.

  8. His songs make me want to go “I wanna be like you-hoo-hoo, I wanna talk like you-hoo-hoo”. Y’know, like Baloo out The Jungle Book?
    Well, thats when they’re not making me want to kill myself. And him.

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