July 17, 2013


Kings of Leon Balance Southern Roots & Arena Ambition on "Supersoaker"

Kings of Leon just released "Supersoaker," the first single from their September 24th release Mechanical Bull, and it finally reaches what the Followills have been chasing over their last three albums: that hallowed middle ground between their Southern rock roots and arena rock ambitions. Listen above.

The track opens with jangly guitar chords, bounce-y bass and a straight drum beat—a nod to early albums like Aha Shake Heartbreak, which rightly earned the Nashville band the title of "The Southern Strokes." That name certainly applies to "Supersoaker." But after their ragged early days, the Followills released a series of studio-slick albums with pop ambitions, like Because of the Times and Only by the Night. After chart success with the latter, especially with its single "Use Somebody," the quartet attempted to revisit their roots (to varying results) on 2010's Come Around Sundown.

"Supersoaker" hits the sweet spot between the two. Its ragged, rootsy sound is just slick enough, just poppy enough thanks to the twinkling riffs, rising intensity, whoaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa chorus and reverbed outro that brings frontman Caleb Followill's whiskey-coated growl into the rafters.

Caleb really nails it with the sound-bite vocals, too, name checking all things Kings of Leon: "Red, white & blue"; "little girl"; "walking away"; "kisses"; "sentimental girls" and more. This should have fans wearing both mom jeans and hipster jeans head-nodding in unison.