KINGS OF LEON - Aha Shake Heartbreak (HandMeDown Records)
Like the Thrills, Kings Of Leon produced a debut album that was so unlike anything else around at the time that the follow-up was never going to be as groundbreaking as its predecessor. The best that they could hope for is to produce an album that had the same energy and ambience, and that they have done. Tracks like 'Slow Night, So Long', 'Four Kicks', and 'Pistol Of Fire' all have that Southern redneck feel to them that made 'Youth And Young Manhood' stand out, but they are tempered with tracks like 'King Of The Rodeo', which is a short acoustic piece, or a slow-building ballad like 'Milk'. 'Razz' employs a funky bassline and choppy guitars on a rollicking good tune, while latest single 'The Bucket' encapsulates everything you need to know about the band sound in one fell swoop. Like The Music, much of this album was written on the road, and if some of these lyrics really are as autobiographical as they are supposed to be then the band certainly seemed to have overindulged themselves on tour, but at least it has given them inspiration for another fine set of songs. With the band style already well in place - and they would be ill-advised to change it at this stage in their career - what we get here is music which is very much as expected - good-time Southern boogie with a modern twist. If you didn't 'get' the Kings Of Leon first time round, then I doubt if this album is going to convert you, but if you found 'Youth…' to be a refreshing diversion then the follow-up does not disappoint.