AS the feral offspring of a backroads Bible Belt preacher man, Kings of Leon arrived with an enviable outsider image and a good line in scuzzy jam-kicking swamp boogie.
That was a decade ago. A lot has happened since then.
It's the oldest story in rock'n'roll. Misfits find fame and then implode. Only By Night was the album that, in 2008, catapulted the chaps into a heady world of stadium-filling craziness.
Their last album, Come Around Sundown was a lame attempt at artistic hara-kiri. As band members began to savage
each other, fans debated setting up an animal rescue shelter. But the wild mongrel dogs of southern rock'n'roll turned into whimpering puppies.
After a lengthy period in quarantine, the hounds are
back, displaying, as the title of this 11- track confection confirms, all the subtlety of a runny nose. Desperate to retrieve their credibility, the Kings namedrop the great Sly Stone as they big-up their latest offering. Ah, the delusions of the wealthy and famous.
Far from challenging convention with their first album in three years, Kings of Leon confirm their pop potential as a sort of undernourished One Direction with a few big riffs.
They want your money, so the least they could have done was finished some of these half-baked jingles or at least invested them with some sense of musical sincerity. The amount of filler here makes Mechanical Bull the musical equivalent of collagen.
Sure, they hit a high point on Temple, Caleb Followill's coyote howl confirmation that he'd “take one in the temple for you”. Don't try this at home kids. Wait For Me will have fans singing “It's all better now” as the guitar flange works harder than it's done since the days of The Cure.
Mechanical Bull indeed. ★★✩✩✩