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Kings Of Leon have really fallen off of their throne. They always had that alternative rock meets country vibe that really had a sweet sound on the radio, but it seems that it's not working for them anymore. Their seventh album Walls is not a good sign.
For what it's worth, the album does have the Kings Of Leon charm. There's a lot of twangy guitars that give their alternative rock label a country tinge, especially evident in 'Around The World'. The beginning half of the album is mostly tolerable and a generally enjoyable listen, with the indie rock track 'Waste A Moment' opening the record in a standard way - nothing special, but nothing to scoff at, really. The same sound is continued in 'Reverend', which really has nothing else to offer besides its upbeat vibe.
That's about all the praise the album can get: an okay start. It all falls apart after 'Over', the six minute track with a cool bass tone that leads nowhere. The issue with this album is that it really has no meat to it. There's no punch and no grit that can make any song grab you in the core of it. All momentum is lost in 'Muchacho', a weird song that tries to be overly dramatic while having a weak instrumental and weak lyrics. This theme continues throughout the rest of the record, 'Conversation Piece' and 'Eyes On You' offering up nothing new or exciting as they follow. 'Wild' makes it even worse, in fact. The album's closer track is single 'WALLS', which we reviewed upon its release (check that out here). The song is still as aimless as it was as a standalone, not progressing in its five minutes and burning out at the end of an album that's already struggling to stay alight.
The only redeemable track on the entire record is 'Find Me'. It's the only song that has a real sense of conviction and direction. It's laced with sweet guitar lines and punctuated chords that build tremendously to a feel good ending. The guitar work is pretty solid on the track, especially evident in the choruses, the nice moments offered up amongst the great melodies and sweet atmosphere. Why the rest of the album couldn't sound like this is beyond me - this is the sound that works; not the half-assed minimal rock tracks that try to sound deep.
Kings Of Leon are losing their steam. Their past efforts were both with largely negative appraisal, and it seems that Walls will be no different. With very few redeemable moments, it's hard to give this album any credit. They tried, but their efforts don't seem to have been enough to satisfy what the band and their fans were needing.
Favorite Track: Find Me
Least Favorite Tracks: Muchacho, Conversation Piece, Walls
Rating: 54 / 100
Kings Of Leon made a reputation out of their country meets indie rock sound. Their seventh album WALLS is due out next month, and they've now shared the second single from the album, the title track 'WALLS'.
'WALLS' is less of a touching song and more of a formulated attempt at it. The song's pretty simple - acoustic guitar, reverberating piano, and heartbeat kick drum, a lowly mixed distorted bass, and the occasional synth. Caleb Fallowill sings with a bright, country timbre throughout, singing about breaking down barriers between people. A bass synth slowly pulses in and out, an sometimes guitar plays a note.
That's just about it with this song. Outside it's initial charm, it doesn't really go anywhere. It misses a climax or any memorable hook to bring it anywhere. The music video certainly doesn't help that either. It's a slow zoom into Fallowill playing guitar and singing, and then he just starts... moving. It's incredibly awkward and the way he stares into the camera without any life in his eyes makes you feel uncomfortable. The video his little to do with the premise of the song.
The problem with 'WALLS' is that it's very underwhelming. There isn't any punch to it, nor is there any point in it being an acoustic track, since there is no emotional attachment to any of the instrumentals to the vocals. They set a tone but not a message, which is where the song fails. There's none of the band's signature vibes to it - the electrifying guitar lines, the catchy melodies, nothing. This song would be miles better if it built up to something bigger. Being a purely acoustic track does not suit it.
Kings Of Leon aren't heading in a hot direction if 'WALLS' is the title track of the album. The title track is usually the essence and heart of the album - 'WALLS' is more of a resting pulse than the core of something meaningful. With the album ahead in less than a month, all we can hope is that there's more to it than this track puts off.
Rating: 58 / 100