Until the release of their latest LP, Only By the Night, Kings of Leon were steadily gaining a widening audience since their debut record, Youth & Young Manhood, was released in 2004. Widely considered one of America’s most talented bands of the modern music era already, with three successful albums under their belts, they then released Only By the Night. Their fourth album has propelled the band to superstardom, with a sellout arena tour and plaudits flooding in from the music press in addition to their best sales to date for an album.
‘Sex On Fire’ was undoubtedly the indie-rock anthem of the summer of 2008 and continues to receive considerable airtime. It is an explosive track that grabs you by the jugular and does not let go for a few minutes. The track has forever changed the fortunes of the Followills, already a very popular band. They have, however, acquired thousands of new fans with its release, which has also, inevitably, alienated the fans who consider them to have “sold out”, a familiar gripe when a band’s success becomes huge. The new album is arguably their strongest to date, a tall order given that all four are excellent records. ‘Sex On Fire’ is complemented by an album free of any filler tracks, with particular mention for ‘Use Somebody’, ‘Crawl’ and ‘Be Somebody’. The album takes the listener through a range of emotions, musically and lyrically, with Caleb Followill, the lead singer, penning some outstanding material. The listener is taken from the haunting opener, ‘Closer’ to the uplifting, punch the air type tracks, ‘Sex On Fire’ and ‘Use Somebody’. ’17’ is the tale of the decadent attraction for a 17 year old, whereas ‘Be Somebody’ showcases the band’s ingenuity, where Caleb wails “Given the chance I want to be somebody…open the door it’s going to make you love me”.
The relentless touring that the band undertake with each album is one of the major reasons for their now stratospheric success. For anyone who has seen them in concert, KOL usually make a resoundingly successful impression, putting on awesome live sets. They are now viewed as the kings of indie cool (no pun intended), taking over the mantle from their friends The Strokes, as well as that of saviours of rock music in general. From ‘Red Morning Light’ to ‘Taper-Jean Girl’, ‘On Call’ to ‘Sex on Fire’, Kings of Leon just keep getting better and better.