Kings of Leon

Kings of Leon looked set to take over the world in 2008. The “South­ern Strokes” had taken their raw, live-wired, gritty blues rock songs such as Wasted Time and the raucous Four Kicks, and polished their act to within an inch of U2 stadium tedium on their mega-selling Only By the Night. They now had mass radio appeal and legions of rebelli­ous 30-something fans, but their music had become middle of the road, boring, even. Then the backlash came and, by the time of 2013’s Mechanical Bull, the squabbling bandmates were dangerously close to disappearing up their own skinny-jeaned jacksies. So it’s with a dump truck of trepidation that we approach the Tennessee rockers’ seventh album, WALLS (it stands for We Are Like Love Songs). Surprisingly, the anthemic Waste a Moment and Reverend kick things off in splendid fashion, with the band, under the guidance of Mumford & Sons’ producer Markus Dravs, sounding more relaxed and together than they have in years. Unfortunately, things go down­hill rapidly from there and may leave you longing for the Kings of old.