Kings of Leon Only By The Night

With their fourth full-length, Only By The Night, Tennessee family band Kings of Leon take another slight step away from their down-home roots. The three brothers, plus one cousin, keep just the right amount of Southern style with front-man Caleb Followill’s raspy drawl, but this just might mark the first time the man sings like he doesn’t have marbles in his mouth. And actually being able to understand the lyrics is a good thing. When Caleb laments, "Jesus don’t love me/No one ever carried my load/I’m too young to feel this old” on album closer "Cold Desert,” it doesn’t sound trite or melodramatic. He comes across as perfectly honest — maybe because of his travelling preacher upbringing — and so does the rest of the record. That frankness, mixed with the best musical elements of Southern and classic rock, is summed up perfectly in "Be Somebody,” with Nathan Followill’s rolling drumbeats pulling it all together. These four definitely don’t have to worry; they’re already somebody in the music world. (RCA)