Kings of Leon could have released a bad album – it might even have been expected. The ginormous alt-country/rock act have, as of late, become as well known for being jerks and singer Caleb Followill’s alcoholism, as for actual music. 2013’s Mechanical Bull (QRO review) was fine for fans of the popular group, but hardly had the power of early work such as 2007’s Because of the Times (QRO review). Meanwhile, they’ve made it to the Black Keys/Jack White level of today’s popularity that assures them of continued record sales and huge gigs. Yet WALLS might be the band’s best since Because, as they revive what made Kings of Leon great in the first place.
Opener/single “Waste a Moment” raises the game from the get-go, a return to earlier/better form with its inspiring press. The following “Reverend” well showcases Followill’s vocal delivery, while “Find Me” has the old Leon effectiveness & power. Not all the songs are as remarkable, particularly the slower numbers “Conversation Piece” and closer/single “WALLS”, but the heart of “Over” still works, and subsequent “Muchacho” has a relaxed, resigned twang that is a nice shift for the group.
WALLS is not quite a ‘return to greatness’ record, as the group simply isn’t old enough to have the long highs and lows of our greatest acts. But it is a nice return of a band that you can remember being good before they became big.