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Published:April 23rd, 2007 06:20 EST
Kings of Leon's Best Album Yet

Kings of Leon's Best Album Yet

By Jessica Baird

The release of Kings of Leon`s third album marks a turning point for the deep-fried, southern rock "n rollers. The Tennessee natives are treated like real kings in the UK and Because of the Times " might finally deem them rock royalty in America.

Caleb Followill, along with brothers Jared, Nathan and their cousin, Matthew, make up this rollicking quartet. Raised by a Pentecostal preacher, the title of their new album derives from a religious convention the Followill brothers used to attend each year with their father. They may be sons of a preacher man, but these boys` real religion is rock.

Their first album was about their dreams of sex, drugs and rock "n roll. By their second album they had experienced all of the above and lived to tell the tale. On Because of the Times, " the Kings experimented in the studio more than ever before, and ended up with their best album yet.

Their biggest departure from past records comes in the form of Knocked Up, " the album`s first track. Lead singer and rhythm guitarist, Caleb, sings of speeding off in a Coup DeVille with his pregnant girlfriend and fellow renegade. Considering several of their past tunes clocked in under a booze-soaked three minutes, this seven-minute opus is definitely driving the Kings in a new direction.

Although Caleb`s vocals often sound as though he`s gargling marbles, they have become an unmistakable trait for the Kings. The group used vocal effects for the first time on their current single On Call. " The finished product is, arguably, their most accessible and radio-friendly offering yet.

The studio tinkering continues throughout the album, and the Kings sound fuller and louder than ever before. Considering the group has had opening slots for some of the most celebrated artists in music, including Bob Dylan and Pearl Jam, they seemed to have picked up some tips along the way. For instance, Because of the Times " has their first arena-rock, lighters in the air, track. Black Thumbnail, " with its somewhat unintelligible lyrics, killer guitar licks, thumping bass-line and aggressive drumbeat, is everything rock "n roll should be.

In a music world where a band`s success is measured by how many Myspace friends they have, or how successful their clothing line is, the Kings are the quintessential throwback to the gritty, fist-pumping rock of a bygone era. Caleb might say he`s, awful sick and tired of the game, " on the track The Runner, " but here`s hoping that he never stops playing.