The Return of the Kings?

Following the commercial, if not critical, success of 2008's Only by the Night, the brothers Followill return with their latest offering in the guise of their latest single.

"Radioactive", which appears on their new album, Come Around Sundown, has been described by the band themselves as a reaffirmation of the "spirituality" of the group as they grew up in Tennessee. Brace yourself.

Radioactive heralds another, and perhaps the last, step towards the abyss that is the dreaded tag of 'stadium rock'. It is so hard to associate the band who brought us the gritty Youth and Young Manhood and Aha Shake Heartbreak with this current group who have 'progressed' to highly-polished pop music in order to secure success in their native United States.

The commercial success of the platinum selling Only by the Night looked to have encouraged the Followills to further diverge from their early career, which saw them attract fans and plaudits alike with energetic rock and roll.

As a long time fan of the pre Only by the Night Kings of Leon, I was wary of this new offering at first. Having spent a day with it, my opinion of Radioactive has flip-flopped several times.

It IS mainstream. It IS a highly produced and mixed single. Crucially, however, it is rather good. The chorus, which had sounded 'cheesy' (for want of a less oft-levelled critical term) on first listen is infectious, rabble-rousing enough for the Sex on Fire brigade but also sufficiently soulful for many fans of earlier releases.

Recent recruits to the Kings of Leon bandwagon will love this song. Older fans who may have wished the Kings of Leon into exile may want to give this one a try. They might find themselves surprised.


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