Kings of Leon's blend of bluesy raunch, countrified inflections, streamlined Strokes-like guitar jams, sleepy psychedelia, and post-punk stylings is a fresh, yet somehow familiar, cocktail. AHA SHAKE HEARTBREAK, the band's sophomore effort, follows closely on the heels of the honky-tonk rock of their debut, but it pushes the whole even further into unexpected territory. While "Pistol of Fire" cooks like John Lee Hooker with extra backbeat and a side of beans, other tracks on HEARTBREAK mix classic-rock boogie ("Four Kicks"), swagger and desperate yowls ("The Bucket"), and hillbilly yodels ("Day Old Blues") into an engaging indie aesthetic.
As if Kings of Leon's keen songwriting, stylistic amalgam, and gutsy attack weren't enough, there is the utterly unique singing of Caleb Followill, who usually sounds as though he is heavily intoxicated or has just woken up from a nap. Followill's lazy, idiosyncratic phrasing and intonation admirably take Kings of Leon out of the realm of potentially similar bands, with singers who are content to yelp and imitate. AHA SHAKE HEARTBREAK rocks, rolls over, dreams, and gets up with a pain in its heart--a process that merits numerous listens.
- Genre: Rock
- Format: Vinyl
- Released: 04/16/2013