There’s something about southern rock that seems to be far more interesting that plain old rock ‘n’ roll. Say what you will about the politics of Lynyrd Skynyrd, but they knew how to rock with that low-down, dirty attitude that only the sweltering heat of the south could produce. Today, more than ever, we need to be rocked, southern style.
The Kings of Leon are about as southern as it gets. Raised on the road by their father Leon Followill, a traveling Christian evangelist, the four brothers are experts on sin and temptation, and their album Aha Shake Heartbreak is full of the southern flavor that reeks of indulgence. There’s the tales of too much boozin’ like in “Soft” – “I’m passed out in your garden/ I’m in but I can’t get off so soft” – and the tales of too much brawlin’ in “Four Kicks” – “She’s lovin’ on the boy from the city/ I’ll be lovin’ him under my shoes.” The thing that the Kings do best is the creation of a sense of longing. When lead singer Caleb Followill speaks of the repercussions of a one-night stand, saying, “I hate her face/ But enjoy the company,” we see a dual picture of a man who is struggling to find a balance – something we can all relate to.
With Aha Shake Heartbreak, the Kings have managed to dodge the southern-fried Strokes comparisons that critics thrust upon them with their release of Youth and Young Manhood, and are beginning to come into their own. Caleb Followill’s singing voice (which sounds like he has something in his mouth) is one of the most unique in music, and the brothers Followill have a hard rockin’ southern sound that’s sure to please. Even those in the blue states will find the pulsating southern rhythm of Aha Shake Heartbreak hard to ignore.
[Bradley Vargyas must have an Abba fixation.]