Kings of Leon's 'Mechanical Bull': What the Critics Are Saying

3:01 PM PST 09/24/2013 by Kyle Jaeger

The Southern rock band makes a "U-turn" with their latest album.

Back from a brief hiatus, Kings of Leon has reemerged on the alternative music scene, brandishing their sixth album, Mechanical Bull

Ten years of production and tours have given the band time to evolve as artists -- to hone in on their Southern rock prowess --  which the album, out Sept. 24 via RCA Records, dutifully reflects.  

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Critics have evolved with the band and their enthusiasm for the release of Mechanical Bull is apparent: 

Billboard's Ray Waddell calls the record "powerful" and "diverse." With respect to the classic, KOL elements, Waddell explains how the album showcases the band's "turn-on-a-dime tempo changes, mysterious, atmospheric ballads and ringing, hard-charging rockers." 

"The Kings fold low-down, raucous moments into what's become their trademark sonic and emotional expansiveness," The Rolling Stone's Jon Dolan writes. But even after the release of this sixth album, the band does not disappoint. "It's loose and down-to-earth; you can imagine them basing it out in a shed, albeit a very large one." 

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The idea that Mechanical Bull represents an introspective turnaround in the band's musical direction is common among critics. The New York Times' Jon Caramanica wrote that "Kings of Leon is making a U-turn," returning to its roots. "It's always been a haggard, handsome Southern rock band at its core, and the best songs here exude a macho kind of depression." 

Ray Rahman of Entertainment Weekly gave the album a solid B+ review. His review confers with points made by other critics as he describes how Mechanical Bull "finds the Tennessee rockers recapturing the white-lightning-in-a-bottle spark that made their early stuff so fun." 

"The sheer predictability of this band has proved no barrier to massiveness, and their formula remains uncommonly resilient," The Guardian's Kitty Empire says. Returning from their short hiatus, Kings of Leon is "back in the saddle, punching their timecards with a little more brio than of late and a tad more good feeling." 

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