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Album Review: Kings of Leon – Can We Please Have Fun

2 min read

American rockers Kings of Leon have been mainstays on the scene ever since their debut Youth And Young Manhood back in 2003. Their true breakthrough came with 2008’s Only By The Night, a record that holds multiple hits still on heavy rotation to this day, including their undisputed biggest song Sex on Fire. The group have consistently put out great albums, their longest break only being due to the pandemic. Can We Please Have Fun seems to be a nod to this time, coming as their latest offering.

Ballerina Radio kicks things off with a driving bass line mixing buried, distorted samples. It’s a slow builder that incorporates synths as well as the bands usual guitar playing, leading into the following track Rainbow Ball. This song follows a similar pattern, messy, distorted, and fun, with an almost melancholic lead melody. Nowhere To Run and Mustang both bring the energy up, the former starting softly before evolving into a danceable groove and singalong chorus perfect for stadium rock shows. Actual Daydream is another groovy number, the bass and drums playing off the staccato guitars and the nostalgic, acoustic led chorus.

Both Split Screen and Don’t Stop The Bleeding take the slow route, the latter especially featuring minimal instrumentation but holding a concise structure. Nothing To Do comes as a late album highlight. The bass is catchy and punky, the guitars ferocious and reminiscent – particularly in the verses – of early Bruce Springsteen numbers. Singer Caleb Followill sounds particularly fraught and urgent, as he does on lead single Mustang, but here the themes of the song seem to shine through his performance. M Television and Hesitation Gen keep up the momentum is differing ways, the latter sounding like a rocked-up Motown tune. Ease Me On also has this sound, just on the calmer side of the wall of sound spectrum. Closer Seen manages to incorporate most of the sounds that appeared across the album, and tie them in to a satisfying conclusion that is both moody and anthemic. 

Kings Of Leon aren’t reinventing the wheel with this one, but are certainly sown interesting creative directions in the songs. The production especially lifts some of these tunes to the next level, the intriguing guitar tones and looseness overall giving it an intriguing quality. It won’t convert non-fans to the side of KoL, but it’s a strong inclusion to their back catalogue that will definitely please fans.