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Published:September 27th, 2013 08:29 EST
Kings of Leon Sixth Outing, 'Mechanical Bull,' Strong Signature Guitar Pop Combo Effort!

Kings of Leon Sixth Outing, 'Mechanical Bull,' Strong Signature Guitar Pop Combo Effort!

By John G. Kays

I must confess, I never know what I`m going to write when I sit down to do it, but will say, (nonetheless), the first thought that comes across my mind as I type blindly,  when listening to the Kings of Leon new record (their 6th outing), Mechanical Bull, is I want to learn more about their newly created home studio in Nashville, once a paint factory, where they recorded this album. Sounds great; is it a digital or is it an analog recording? Got the Deluxe Edition! This is the first Kings of Leon record I`ve ever purchased; don`t recall hearing any of their older ones.

I immediately size them up as a signature pop combo lineup: two guitars, bass, and drums. Couldn`t be anymore of a Classic Sixties Garage Band configuration; this is all right with me - this is how I got my education, with bands like The Kingsmen (sorry, they had keys)! I`ll freely admit, I have a vast backlog of homework to do with this, I`ll call, jangle pop band. I tackled a bit of it this morning, enjoying the video that accompanies Supersoaker, my favorite song from MB so far. Then I watched their performance of Temple on Jimmy Fallon, and observed KoL as very professional, matter of fact, cool, calm, and collect. 

I wondered what kind of bass Jared was playing?; I`m currently in the market for a bass guitar to use on demos, so I was curious. And Matthew was playing what looked like a Gibson hollow body sunburst, so that`s a nice trip! I wonder what types of effects boxes those guys use; the record is heavily treated with guitar effects, which is okay by me. Listening to Tonight just now, and the guitars sound like they were recorded in concrete gutter pipes; these guys use more reverb than I do, which is cool with me, also. Was it added on during the mix, or was it naturally captured from microphones strapped down on merciless amplifiers?

Critics have mentioned U2 as a large influence, but it just occurred to me, I`m hearing some Big Country in this record also. Check it out and see if you concur; hearing it again on the bonus cut, Work On Me, Big Country all the way. Definitely go with the Deluxe Edition, with Work On Me and Last Mile Home. No keyboards in the mix, imagine that? It`s radical, but has precedents; wasn`t that a Grunge thingy? Well, I don`t have time to cover all that old ground, but to say, Guitars Rule! mentality comes into play with KoL.

No lyrics in the digital booklet. Lyrics are more of a background texture with these guys, I suspect. Or it could be a throwback to the Garage Band Era, such as The Kingsmen`s Louise Louise, where the sounds of the syllables can hit you in different ways and you make up your own stories, based on how the guitars, bass, and drums slam your head. Yea, that`s a long standing Rock & Roll tradition! Their sound is very compact, almost Monophonic; this plays into my idea about the singing and lyrics as just another part, disguised in the mix. Don`t Matter is the best example of this monolithic characteristic.

One would swear, if they didn`t know any better, Don`t Matter is vintage Deep Purple! I`m going to rotate that one again, it`s my new favorite! This must be the Arena Rock Trip critics have been talking about; Pearl Jam meets the Stooges? Matthew burns rubber in a middle 8 ax grinding of a lead! Beautiful War is the Bono sensitive folk ballad for Mechanical. The rhythm sounds like a rat-a-tat-tat machine gun vibration, which compliments the incongruous song title where an adjective is a mismatch with the primary noun. I have a good feeling about this album and will get with the program and take a listen to their back catalog.