Brief recap of the Followill clan’s overexposed rock pedigree – Tennessee brothers Caleb, Nathan and Jared spend their formidable years touring the Bible Belt with Pentecostal minister father. Boys forsake church to form a dixie-fried garage rock band, Kings of Leon, with cousin Matthew. Foursome quickly picked up by major label and head to Britain to seek fortune.
With just enough raw honky-tonk crunch and creative facial hair to win over English rock scribes and Noel Gallagher, boys declared next big thing by ravenous glossy tastemakers at NME and Rolling Stone, who predict a second coming of Skynard soon to follow.
Well no swipe at the Followills’ mighty full-length debut Youth & Young Manhood, but the Kings really are really aping the faux-Southern stomp of CCR and Neil Young, rather than the more authentic but not-as-immediate twang of Skynard or the Allman Brothers. And frontman Caleb’s growl on “Wasted Time” and lead single “Molly’s Chamber” more to Mick Jagger than Hank Williams.
Like the rest of their retro-minded peers, the Kings draw plenty of their rudimentary, taut kick from shorthanding of their influences, tossed in with gritty storytelling. For being preacher’s son the boys seem a little too familiar with the dark corners of sleazy small town life.
“Joe’s Head” plays a murder for a few laughs, while the epic build-up of “Trani” crosses paths with drugs and fallen women, playing off the drunken narratives of the King’s kindred alt-country rock spirits, Drive-By Truckers.
Overall, Youth bleeds effortless, neo-good ol’ boy potential.
Can I get an amen?