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Kings of Leon

still of the band kings of leon playing on a studio

Kings of Leon have a pretty interesting story behind them, something that could maybe be the premise of a movie rather than reality. 3 brothers who grew up traveling around the southern states of the USA with their preacher father, form a band in their teenage years with their cousin. Finding success initially as indie rock‘n’rollers in the UK before releasing an album that catapulted them to mega-stardom and selling out arenas around the world.

 

But before ‘Sex on Fire’ and ‘Use Somebody’ became the kind of songs that were banned at open mic nights for being too overplayed, the young Followill family burst onto the music scene with an album that saw them labelled as the southern equivalent of another Penta favourite – The Strokes.

 

In connection with this month’s Penta Sounds playlist Remember the Riffs, we’re rewinding the clock 20 years (yeah, it’s really been that long!) to return to an album of sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll. It’s time to revisit ‘Youth & Young Manhood’.

 

With the band members ranging from just 16-23 in age when the album was written and released, the title is pretty literal, and as you might expect, the amount of energy and enthusiasm that is on display right from the very first song is hardly surprising. Speaking of the first track, as the song from this album that finds itself in our playlist this month, we should probably dedicate a little bit of time to it.

 

Opening with a simple yet memorable scuzzy guitar riff, ‘Red Morning Light’ sets the tone for what is to come across the entire album. It’s not complicated, it’s not showy, but it is a lot of fun. We dare you to try and not tap your toes to the cowbell-driven drumbeat that drives the song forward. The song has a kind of vibe that you might associate (in a good way) with an advert or introduction for something, in that it is memorable from the very first time you hear it. In fact, some of the gamers amongst you may remember it as the loading intro for Fifa 2004. Unfortunately (or luckily?), if you book a stay in a Penta Player Suite or a Penta Playerpad Room you’ll have to make do with games that are newer than that, but you can always stick on our playlist as a soundtrack.

 

Back to the album, and another thing we really dig about it is that Kings of Leon know exactly when to take their foot off the gas and take things down a notch, pulling out an acoustic or slower song. Not only does this share a different side to their songwriting, but it also maximizes the impact of whatever follows. Both ‘California Waiting’ and ‘Holy Roller Novocaine’, two of the album’s highlights come after slower and more tender moments.

 

Youth and Young Manhood’ isn’t the “perfect” album, but it isn’t supposed to be. It’s 45 minutes of scruffy rock and roll and it’s a lot of fun in the process. If you haven’t listened to it before, or for a while, we recommend giving it a blast and taking yourself back to 2003. You won’t regret it.

 

Still credits: “Kings of Leon - Wicker Chair, Red Morning Light & Happy Alone (2003)”, uploaded to YouTube by

Novemberregen 

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