It's certain that I get pleased with the records from the four Followills and this "Aha Shake Heartbreak
" is not one of those albums that I simply like. It's not even one of those that I just like it a lot. A special place that this 2nd album has for me, this album that received a deserved acclamation from critics, Fans
and other high level musicians. And you just need to hear the beginning of "Slow Night, So Long", and that harmony between guitars and bass, family work, to see that the Kings of Leon don't like to work in the same way as other bands and like to have their own way.
"Rise and shine all you gold digger mothers, are you to good to tango with the poor poor boys?" asks Caleb Followill to the sound of a latin influenced piano before we hear two wonderful interpolated riffs, each guitar on one side in "King of the Rodeo
". And it's not just that, it's also the addictive rhythm of the vocals, the lyrics that make our eyebrows rise and make us think "what the hell is he talking about?" that even look completely random and the quick almost imperceptible way Calep spits "Good time to roll on" at the end of the song, makes "King of the Rodeo
" a favourite for anyone and a promising anthem.
After another excelent drumming work by Nathan - each instrument is recogniseable by itself on Kings of Leon's music - unmistakeably dirty chorus and the "release your histerism at the end" essence on another symbolic "Taper Jean Girl" we're back to random lyrics - but that they probably know what they're talking about - in "Pistol of Fire". Just something like "“Pistol of fire, pistol of fire, pistol of fire/Shattered the frame/Go hug your sister/Go love your sister/Go hug your sister/One and the same/Higher, where did you want to take me?/Higher, where did you want to go?/Higher, grabbing up the money, is coming/Higher, coming up for that rooftop door”. I doubt it's easy to interpret and explain those lyrics, but that's one of the things that makes this song so awesome. And there's still the comical way how Caleb drags that "Higher" with his unique voice, with a little tone of suffering, out of tune on purpose and some alcoholism to the mixture calls the attention of the listener even if he doesn't want. And speaking of Caleb's unmistakeable and singular voice, right next we have "Milk", some sort of acoustic ballad in which we only hear Caleb's voice for moments echoing throughout our ear. Magical, let's say, the way he releases the verse "Salty leave" and how near the end of the song we have the 3 brothers and the cousin giving us a true show of Folkish intrumentalization. Its lyrics with multiple interpretations are back on action in the chorus. Sexual innuendos or a girl with a lactosis alergy? You decide.
Meanwhile, it begins a song that, along with "King of the Rodeo
" received - and deserved - the highlight of single. "The Bucket
", a beautiful song with Alternative bones talking about young bassist Jared and his premature fame - but he's not a Teen Pop Star, for God's sake! The same kind of instrumentalizations is kept on "Soft", where once again we got lyrics of a more pervert nature and with reference to the alcoholic habits of these young men, like "I’m passed out in your garden/I’m in, I can’t get off, so/I’d pop myself in your body/I’d come into your party, but I’m soft”. Maybe about this one, there aren't many doubts on what he's talking about.
Maybe a little too short is "Razz" with its miserable 2:15, that makes us want more of that Nathan typical drumming and the short but direct chorus, enough to get stuck on our heads. Incomplete music? No, although it's too short, it's well used time. Meanwhile if you want some more acoustic ballads with highligh on Caleb's voice the way I mentioned previously, that gives us the impression that the man wasn't much sober when he recorded this, there is "Day Old Blues" and its unique chorus “Day old day old day old/Day old day old day old/Day old day old day old/Blue-ues”, it can also get pretty comical, but it doesn't stop being pure genius. And speaking of short songs, it gets to one what was once one of my favourites and also deserved a highlight as single. With "Four Kicks
", Kol wanted to try a little Hard Rock and it's impossible to stand still to the sound of cousins Caleb and Matt riffing the way they do it. 2 minutes are already short, so when they're spent this way... Too fast and before you notice, the confusing chorus “You with your switchblade posse/I’ll get my guns from the south/We’ll take it to the yard like a cockfight/Four Kicks
, who’s strutting now?” is already taking the song as finished - if anyone wants to offer to explain this chorus too, be my guest.
And since we're still talking about short songs, it comes "Velvet
Snow" again, accompanied by the drunken voice and there's not much to explain about one. Simply excelent, to the whole record's level. To finish we got "Rememo", again a calmer song, with a ridiculously simple riff - 2 notes - in which Caleb sends a few "motherfuckers" to jail or Hell. For anyone who wants, there's also "Where Nobody Knows", that even though it's very good, it can't distinguish itself the same way as the others, so that's why it was lowered to Bonus Track.
I didn't write such a long text for a while, it's true, but this is really a record I know by heart and I can't resist the work of the Followills, the voice of Caleb, as I mentioned, the harmony of Caleb and Matt's guitars and the way the latter is a great soloist, Jared's very audible bass - that learnt how to dominate this instrument in 2 weeks - and Nathan's drumming that also becomes a trademark of the group's style. So there must be a reason for me to hear it so many times. So I sit enjoying this CD and badmouthing "Only by the Night
"? Wrong. At the beginning I said I get pleased with this band's records - plural, I enjoy them all - but that's a different story.