Recorded at Shangri-La Studios, Malibu, California; Sound City Studios, Van Nuys, California; House Of Blues Studios, Memphis, Tennessee; Ocean Way Studios and GroundStar Studios, Nashville, Tennessee.
Recording information: Groundstar Studios, Nashville, TN; House Of Blues Studio, Memphis, TN; Ocean Way Studios, Nashville, TN; Shangri-la Studios, Malibu, CA; Sound City Studios, Van Nuys, CA.
Photographer: Colin Lane.
Arranger: Ethan Johns.
Though Kings of Leon hail from the South and boast a collective hirsute quality that would make CCR proud, they are neither Skynyrd-worshipping Southern rock revivalists nor country-tinged roots-rockers. Rather, their raw, shambling sound suggests a cross between the garage rock of the Strokes and White Stripes and the heartland sleaze-rock of Nashville Pussy. In fact, if the aforementioned garage types hadn't loosened up the music industry a bit, it would be hard to imagine a band as down-and-dirty as this foursome getting a major label deal. The songs aren't all blazing stompers; there are the occasional touches of acoustic guitar and piano and even a waltz tempo on one tune, but still in the same pointedly discombobulated spirit as the rockers. A hidden track on the end that sounds like EXILE-era Stones in heroin-country mode offers a hint to the Kings' deeper roots and leaves the option of sonic advancement open for the future.
Rolling Stone (12/25/03, p.107) - Included in Rolling Stone's "50 Best Albums of 2003"
Rolling Stone (9/4/03, p.138) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...The thrill is in the groove. Some of the time that means jacked-up garage punk...but the Kings are also a Southern rhythm section to the core..."
Spin (8/03, pp.111-2) - "...[Kings of Leon] bash and pop like they've been rock stars for years....drifts with the sort of slack backwoods passion Dylan found in Nashville skylines and the Stones saw in wild horses..." - Grade: B+
Entertainment Weekly (8/22-29/03, p.132) - "...Nashville's Kings shake up [Southern rock's] rural tendencies with the clamor of garage rock, mixing compact chords, frantic leads, and bashing drums with frontman Caleb Followill's drawl..." - Rating: B+
Q (01/01/04, p.83) - Ranked #4 in Q's "The 50 Best Albums of 2003" - "[Who] would think a mix of Lynyrd Skynyrd-style boogie and New YOrk garage-punk could work this well?"
Uncut (8/03, p.110) - 5 stars out of 5 - "...The kind of life-affirming, slack-strung Gibson SG, four-to-the-floor sonic blitz that makes you want to chain-smoke full-strength Chesterfields chased with lids of Hawaiian while swigging a court of Jim by the neck..."
Magnet (9/03, p.105) - "...With unlikely injections of Wet Willie and lyrical stories told in a drawled yell....[The Kings] were weaned on the car radio, grocery-store rock mags and hours sitting inside hot-ass laundromats..."
Mojo (Publisher) (01/01/04, p.59) - Ranked #14 in Mojo's "The Best of 2003"
Mojo (Publisher) (9/03, p.104) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...Pedal steel guitars beckon, suggesting that the Kings of Leon are more than the right band at the right time..."