KINGS OF LEON & r & & r & Only By the Night & r & & r & 3-1/2 STARS & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & I & lt;/span & t's all in the family with Kings of Leon, the Tennessee group of three brothers and a cousin named after their paternal grandfather. And in their fourth studio try, they rock hard enough to make their Southern mamas and papas proud.
"Sex on fire," for its part, is a jamming tune endowed with a pervading sense of melancholy. It's an effect the Arcade Fire has mastered, and one pulled off convincingly by Kings.
It isn't all style with Kings. There's substance, too -- in fact, they may have abused substances to achieve their level of lyrical depth. In the June issue of Rolling Stone, Kings front man Caleb Followill speculated in the "Smoking Section" that pain medication helped him write beautiful songs. Or maybe it was the all-day drinking binges that inspired him and the guys to produce a couple of "Only's" songs.
Whatever it was, it worked. Now put that in your Bible Belt and thump it.
-- TIM BROSS
DOWNLOAD: "Sex on fire"
The Sound of Animals Fighting
The Ocean and the Sun
& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & Y & lt;/span & ou probably haven't heard of the Sound of Animals Fighting. You probably haven't heard of them because their songs are much too long for the radio and -- as their name suggests -- on the verge of cacophony.
But there is level of sophistication in their work, one that summons the jam bands of yesteryear. Their tunes aren't as melodic because of their progressive, post-rock influence, but there is an element of captivating scruffiness all the same.
The group is a "musician collective," according to their MySpace page, and it boasts a lion's pride worth of artists. The crew often performs in animal masks that cover their manes in an effort to encourage the listener to focus on the music instead of the people. But here I am reporting on the masks and not the music.
-- TIM BROSS
DOWNLOAD: "The Ocean and the Sun"