Kings of Leon Because of the Times

Kings of Leon Because of the Times
Fans of the band’s previous outings might be a little disappointed with their much-anticipated third album. Because Of The Times seems a little behind the times at, um, times. The band’s Southern-fried rock’n’soul has been displaced with a heavy dose of early ’90s grunge aesthetics. It’s slick and heavy, with fuller production values, sonic landscapes and grand experimentation; the unfortunate side effect is fewer hooks. Nothing is as grabbing or as immediate as on their previous outings — there is no equivalent to "Molly’s Chambers” this go-around. Still, the album is an interesting listen. It helps that these guys can really play and taking things in a different direction gives them an opportunity to showcase that. Caleb Followill’s voice is in absolute top form. On standout "Charmer,” his shrill howls would give Gerry Roslie of the Sonics a run for his money. Because Of The Times is not what we’ve come to expect from Kings of Leon but at least it shows that there is a range to their songwriting and they’re not afraid to take risks. It’s not quite progress but at least Kings Of Leon aren’t allowing themselves to stagnate.

Can you tell me a little bit about the recording process?
Guitarist/vocalist Caleb Followill: It was a lot more relaxed than previous records because we recorded it here in Nashville, as opposed to L.A. So there wasn’t as much of a feeling of going to work as it was just going up to the studio. We’d sleep in our own beds and it was summertime so we would all just hang out and drink Pineapple Malibus. It’s funny, because we recorded next to Faith Hill and Keith Urban; they’d pull up and there’d be all of these shirtless longhaired dudes hanging around. But it was relaxing; it was fun.

There are shades of Bruce Springsteen in some of the songs, especially "Knocked Up.” Was that intentional?
No. I knew that we wanted to make an anthemic record, but we’ve never really listened to Bruce Springsteen. Someone bought me a CD of his a long time ago. One thing about his music that I appreciate is that he has landmarks in his songs and that’s kind of what I try to do. If we’re playing a show in Germany and it’s snowing out and I’m lonely, I want to be singing about a Chevrolet. I want to have these things in my songs that make me feel like I’m home. I wanted markers in the record, so when I’m onstage somewhere I can remember. (RCA)