Belfast Telegraph

Kings of Leon, Only By The Night

(RCA)

The fourth Kings Of Leon album sees them abandon their country-rock roots for an Eighties-influenced alt-rock sound.

The guitar on "Cold Desert" and "I Want You" sounds like the Cure, while "Crawl" has – shock! – an electronic bassline. It's something of a return to form for a band who had temporarily lost their direction while shagging and snorting their way around the planet.

There was a pleasing irony in these lapsed Christian bad boys keeping the chaste Sir Cliff off the top of the charts last week with a song called "Sex on Fire". But a note of reflection and regret is creeping in.

Caleb's voice, more soulful and woeful than before, recalls Steve Winwood in his Spencer Davies Group days (particularly on "17"), and his lyrics have a new poeticism. The apparently innocent meaning of the words "I could use somebody like you" evaporates into something darker as the song progresses, while the soft rock-tinged "Revelry" speaks of "Fire in my bones and the sweet taste of kerosene", and confesses "The time we shared, it was precious to me/All the time I was dreaming of revelry".

KoL have put that revelry on hold for long enough to make a half-decent record.

Pick of the Album: 'Sex on Fire'

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