Kings of Leon draws on sounds of its past for 'Mechanical Bull'
By Patricia Reaney
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Grammy-winning Kings of Leon marked a decade in music with a new album on Tuesday which critics have praised for showcasing the best of the band's talents while still moving forward in its sound.
"Mechanical Bull" is the sixth album by the Nashville-based group, formed by the Followills: brothers Caleb, Nathan and Jared and cousin Matthew. The band broke into the mainstream music scene with their 2008 album "Only By the Night," which included the hits "Use Somebody" and "Sex on Fire."
They are scheduled to hit the road to promote the album in early 2014 with a North American tour. Dates and cities will be announced next month.
"We wanted to show all our different influences throughout the years," singer/guitarist Caleb, 31, said during an interview in New York. "As time goes on you are in a different head space from album to album and hopefully you are a little better at your craft."
Kings of Leon formed in 1999 and released their first full-length studio album "Youth and Young Manhood" in 2003 to critical acclaim. The band has become known for its trademark fusion of Southern blues, country and roots rock.
The band was forced to weather some setbacks in 2011 when it canceled part of its U.S. tour citing health concerns after Caleb walked off stage during a concert in Dallas saying he couldn't sing. The band then took a break and Caleb, Nathan and Matthew became new fathers, and Jared got married.
The new album is the first recorded in the Followills' new studio in Nashville, converted from an old paint factory. The band had originally envisioned the space as a rehearsal studio, but everything gelled so well that the entire album was made there.
With 11 tracks on "Mechanical Bull" including the ballad "Comeback Story," the thumping "Supersoaker" and the rocking "Don't Matter," drummer Nathan, 34, said the album encompassed sounds from all their previous records and shows the group's growth. Critics agreed with the assessment. Continued...