Mechanical Bull represents a botched attempt for the Kings Of Leon to relive their glory days of creativity with a sixth effort which is fatigued and largely boring
A decade after their phenomenal debut Youth & Young Manhood, Kings Of Leon return with their sixth record Mechanical Bull. Kings Of Leon became one of the biggest rock bands in the world following their fourth record and on the back of singles Sex On Fire and Use Somebody (songs which were destined to end up being sung by drunken men in pubs for an eternity). In the build up to the album’s release, much has been said about how the band envisioned to return to the same exhilarating, youthful and joyous sound which existed on their debut. Unfortunately, I found the band to have largely failed in that endeavour. Mechanical Bull, much like the bands fifth effort Come Around Sundown, is a disappointment.
It’s not all bad new though. Kings Of Leon’s efforts to recreate their former sound can be heard most clearly on Don’t Matter, a relentless, ruckus-inducing riot of a song. It really is rather good. Lead single and album opener Supersoaker helps recreate the joyous, youthful vibe of years past, and is a promising opening act. However, I found Mechanical Bull to horrendously suffer during its mid-section, with the four-song onslaught of Beautiful War, Temple, Wait For Me and Family Tree seeing the band give way to an uninspiring, tired and bloody boring sound. Additionally, I found many of the lyrics on Mechanical Bull to sound lazy and uninspired. For example, the lyrics “I’ve got my hands in my pockets” repeated throughout Temple or “I am your Family Tree. I know your A-Z” on Family Tree – BORING. IT’S JUST SO AGGRAVATINGLY BORING. Kings Of Leon can, and have several times, done much, much better than this. Having wanted this record to be a return to form for the band so much, I felt depressed listening to these tracks.
However, Comeback Story is a nice enough tune with its gentle, soothing background vocals crooning away throughout.Tonight is an improvement, but, with its huge chorus giving off the feeling of free falling, it sounds more like the track The Immortals (from Come Around Sundown) rather than anything from the bands riotous debut.
The other songs on the album just aren’t worth investigating individually. I’ll just save you the trouble and tell you that, if you are a fan of Kings Of Leon and like me were hoping for something brilliant (such as the entirety of Aha Shake Heartbreak) – you won’t find it here. Now, I’m not saying that bands should be constantly be rehashing out the same old sound all the time – that would be boring. Bands should evolve, just look at the Arctic Monkeys if you want to see how a current band can evolve effectively. My problem with Kings Of Leon is that they are on a downward slope. They are not evolving, but crumbling away under the weight of disappointing release after disappointing release. However, despite this fizzling out in quality of output, I’m confident that Kings Of Leon will continue to pack out stadiums and arenas the world over and headline numerous festivals for years to come. And I’m feeling a bit sad to be debating whether that’s a good thing anymore…