I’ve listened to it a couple of times, and Come Around Sundown is (unfortunately for some of us) what I expected from the Only By the Night follow-up. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a solid effort. It’s well written. It’s polished both in terms of vocals and instrumentals. It’s easy to listen to. And it’s got an expansive, big sound that will play well in any arena. If Use Somebody and Sex on Fire were my introduction to KOL, I’d probably really like it.
On the other hand, it’s a bit dirgy, safe, and predictable compared to previous records. It doesn’t have the youthful exuberance or rawness of Youth and Young Manhood, and it doesn’t have the experimental, what-will-they-do-next feel of Because of the Times. The story lines are a bit more finessed (what, no stories about grabby preachers?); the imagery a bit more mainstream (there are bloody teeth, but I didn’t hear anything about a trani on a ten); and the lyrics do a little more lamenting than previous efforts. For me, that takes away a lot of the fun that is Kings of Leon. And where is that driving bass line that roars through 7 full minutes of Knocked Up? I can’t find it anywhere on here.
Regardless, I do believe it is a solid effort. Of course, I could listen to Caleb sing Celine Dion if I had to. That voice…
If you’re favorite record is Only By the Night, then you’ll probably love this. If you’re stuck in the past (like me) and want less polish and more grit, you’ll continue to be disappointed.