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Kings of Leon- Youth and Young Manhood

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In an attempt to try and stay cutting edge and “creative”, bands are fond of mixing genres. They mixed rap and rock to get rapcore. They mixed techno and metal to get industrial. They mixed punk rock with pop to get pop punk. Now, Kings of Leon comes along in a cloak of innovation and mixes garage rock and southern rock.

What Kings of Leon offers is a fairly nice album which is well based in garage rock and flirts with the southern drawl of things. Most comparisons in the garage end that I’ve heard are to The Strokes. I have not heard The Strokes’ album so I personally can not testify to that, but all garage rock sounds the same anyway, right? Unlike most garage rock bands, Kings of Leon defies the trend of putting “The” infront of their name. My hat goes off to them for that.

I find this a more or less enjoyable listening experience. As with any cd, some songs are better than others. The good songs are quite good and the others are solid. There aren’t too many flops.

It seems that the best garage rock out there today combines garage rock with some other style. The White Stripes are a good example of this with their garage rock based strongly in blues. Kings of Leon is not exception, however, they have their flaws.

My biggest complaint is probably that it sounds like they try too hard. It’s too precice and calculated. Both garage rock and southern rock need some kind of grit and this lacks it. I suspect the production has polished up a lot of the character. Which is what a label likes, unfortunately.

I hope Kings of Leon sparks new interest in the youth generation for southern rock the way The White Stripes sparked interest in blues with their bluesy garage blend. Hopefully future efforts will feel less studio enhanced, however, Youth and Young Manhood is still an impressive debut for a genre known for being boring.

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