and Young Manhood
(out of 5)
While the band’s debut
album didn’t hit streets until Aug. 19, Kings of Leon has
already attracted significant waves of alternating praise and criticism.
Tennessee lads cum rock and-roll ingenues discovered by legendary
producer Steve Rabolvsky are being touted as a “Southern Strokes”
in tribute to Rabolvsky’s other golden boys. Yet despite all
of the buzz, it seems that not enough people are actually listening
to the group’s sound.
and Young Manhood is a kick-ass, guilty-pleasure album without too
much latent guilt. The record falls somewhere between Lynryd Skynryd
and the multitude of overhyped faux garage-rock acts currently littering
the streets of New York.
Much of the negative criticism hurled toward the Kings references
a lack of originality. Perhaps, but there is something incredibly
appealing about classic rock played in the key of dirty irreverence.
Tracks such as “Molly’s Chambers” and “Red
Morning Light” could easily find homes on radio stations promoting
either contemporary or classic hits. Lead vocalist and second-oldest
brother (the Kings feature three sons of a preacher man and their
cousin) Caleb Followill comes off as a cross between Tom Petty and
Elvis Costello. He’s the shady character who daddy warned
his little girl about—leaning up against a souped-up Mustang
outside of her house at midnight with a 12-pack of Pabst, calling
out, “In the morning, oh we’ll see/ Just how crazy young
love can be,” or “I’ll be prancing around in my
high heels, your cherry lipstick/ Look out your window/ That’s
where I’ll be.”
certain numbers, such as “California’s Waiting,”
are spoonfuls of upbeat pop sensibility similar to current “it”
bands, “Trani,” “ Dusty” and “Genius”
ooze an innate backwater soul not found in any studio’s mainframe.
Will Kings of Leon believe the hype and sell out? Only time will
tell. Until then, revel in the music it made when grits and a cigarette
were the only requirements for a good jam.
Jerry Joseph & The Jackmormons
(out of 5)
Southern rocker from Portland? That is where longtime crooner Jerry
Joseph finds himself.
exodus to the South all started in the Rockies. In addition to a
few solo releases, Joseph was the front man for Little Women, a
reggae/rock band from Boulder, Colo., and as of recent years for
Jerry Joseph & The Jackmormons, which includes bassist Junior
Ruppel and drummer Brad Rosen.
many albums and tours, Joseph and his bandmates found themselves
recording their fifth LP, Conscious Contact, in Athens, Ga. (Does
R.E.M. sound familiar?) Contrary to previous albums, like Salt Lake
City (1998), Conscious Contact tends to lean more on simple melody
then edgy harmony and rhythm. Although songs like “Fastest
Horse in Town” and “Ching-a-ling” have the same
rawness and R.E.M.-esque drone found in previous albums, Contact
swells with a simplistic sentimentality that you can find with Tom
Petty and his “heartbreaking” tunes.
best way to categorize Contact is “been there done that.”
There isn’t any new ground broken here. While the lyrics strive
for a niche of sentimentality, they are oftentimes obscured by a
lousy boom-chuck country beat.
the lyrics try too hard to be profound: “And the 10 killer
fairies won’t pull us apart/ And I will hold you here in my
sacred heart.” Yet almost every song on this album falls short
of profundity, landing on a mattress drenched in sappy sentimentality.
Song after song is the same bar-music hum drum. But if you are into
non progressive songs from the local pub, JJJ is your ticket.
Say it Like You Mean it
(out of 5)
of teenage angst over a broken heart mix well with those of being
gummy-bear happy as part of a pop-punk band, touring cities big
and small. The Starting Line offers this type of mixed emotions.
The quartet of young guys (very young, in fact, the oldest 23, while
the youngest is only 18) provides for easy listening pleasure without
being overly cheesy.
its album, Say it Like You Mean it, isn't bursting with new elements
of punk, it does provide an array of songs that focus on various
aspects of teenagehood. Lead singer Ken Vasoli, sets the tone for
heartbreak immediately in the very first song, “Up and Go,”
crying, "Here it goes/ It won't take long/ Just let me dedicate
this song/ To a girl who turned this boy to stone". Though
simple, Vasoli’s aching voice compensates for the blatantly
band has much to offer to younger audiences, giving them an opportunity
to learn more about the band itself, while at the same time being
able to connect with the guys as individuals. The songs are catchy
and, though they don't possess deep symbolism or words that could
have various definitions, they are fun to listen to and easy to
sing along with.
it Like You Mean it is rockin’ and reveals the soft hearts
of spikey-haired, punk boys. If nothing else, track five, “A
Goodnight's Sleep,” is worth a listen. It painfully reminds
the listener of that one person who truly broke his or her heart.
The songs are light, yet entertaining, proving that these guys were
made for pop-punk.