This is not Kings of Leon’s second, third or even fourth album; it’s their seventh and they aren’t even forty yet. The question begs, do they have anything left to say at this point? Just by giving the album one spin you can see they clearly do. We Are Like Love Songs (or WALLS) follows their five syllable title rule and has Caleb’s identifiable raspy vocals but this is where the similarities end. The Followills clearly put their time off to good use as WALLS is a breath of fresh air against the backdrop of their previous work.
The album opens with Waste a Moment and it sets the scene well, its upbeat, its anthemic and most importantly, it has that Kings of Leon magic. It’s good to see that the Followills have taken inspiration from bands both recent and classic with Waste a Moment feeling a little like the Killers whilst Around the World has a far more Zeppelin jangle to it and I dare say the intro to Find Me is a little Strokes-esque. Their modern influences are particularly interesting as it shows the bands that Kings of Leon perhaps could’ve been in a different life and that they’re not afraid to sound like at this point in their career.
Despite having taken a couple of years of relaxing in the South it appears that the band have stripped away their overtly Southern tendencies in the songs which is refreshing leaving songs like Over and Find Me far more accessible and generally catchy. Followill’s lyrics are far more hard hitting in places than they have been in a while, particularly in Over which seems to be a reflection of past misgivings whilst also being a love song. Suicide in a love song is not a common theme but Caleb has said in the past that his idea of a love song isn’t quite traditional.
Overall WALLS is the culmination of maybe even Kings of Leon’s entire careers, it’s the perfect balance of low-fi/hi-fi where it’s polished but casual and you just know it’ll still sound great when it’s turned up in arenas. My favourite song probably has to be Wild, followed pretty closely by Reverend, they’re the ones I can picture being belted back at the band the most when they hit UK arenas in February (not something to be missed). There aren’t as many stripped back moments as there were on Mechanical Bull although where WALLS is missing the calm, it only makes up for by making the ferocity of the bigger songs push even further.