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Kings of Leon - Can We Please Have Fun (Album Review)

Friday, 17 May 2024 Written by Matthew McLister

Photo: Matthew Followill

Their preacher family backstory and Southern-fried take on The Strokes’ garage rock revival sound made Kings of Leon an intriguing phenomenon in the ‘00s. In particular, their raw and energetic first couple of records were lapped up in the UK, while the heavy polish of the next two saw their success grow on a huge global scale, catapulted by the success of 2008 single Sex on Fire.

Several patchy records later, they’ve returned with album number nine, promising to bring loose, unencumbered energy back into the fold. Recorded at Nashville’s Dark Horse studio with producer Kid Harpoon, whose credits include Harry Styles and Florence + the Machine, ‘Can We Please Have Fun’ can only get the job half done. 

It contains its share of smooth and explosive earworms but, disappointingly, it’s let down by too many subdued fillers.

To start, Ballerina Radio uses a reflective post-apocalyptic theme and is aided by warm synths, while the propulsive Mustang refreshingly has Caleb Followill unleash his forgotten howl amid electrifying guitars and absurdist lyrics.

Similarly, the funky earworm Nowhere To Run and Nothing To Do hint at a raucousness that’s been missing of late, but it’s all too fleeting as the band rein themselves in on Ease On Me, Actual Daydream and Don’t Stop the Bleeding, which revel in Kings Of Leon’s recent banal baseline.

Technically, the music is accomplished — the driving basslines of Jared Followill, in particular, shine through. Caleb’s voice is rich and flawless. It’s just that ‘Can We Please Have Fun’, much like Kings of Leon’s other post-’Only By The Night’ albums, struggles to maintain a sense of excitement from start to finish.

“Are we still having fun?” Caleb asks on Nowhere To Run but it’s a question best considered after the record’s finished spinning. The answer is yes, just about, but we could have had a lot more. Kings of Leon can still thrill us even if, frustratingly, they can’t quite commit to the title’s spirit.

Kings of Leon Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu June 20 2024 - LEEDS first direct Arena
Sat June 22 2024 - BIRMINGHAM Utilita Arena
Sun June 23 2024 - BRISTOL Ashton Gate Stadium
Sun June 30 2024 - LONDON Hyde Park
Tue July 02 2024 - GLASGOW OVO Hydro
Thu July 04 2024 - NORTHAMPTON Silverstone Circuit
Sat July 06 2024 - DUBLIN Marlay Park
Mon July 08 2024 - NOTTINGHAM Motorpoint Arena
Wed July 10 2024 - MANCHESTER Co-op Live

Compare & Buy Kings Of Leon Tickets at Stereoboard.com.


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