They say youth is wasted on the young. Nobody better tell the Kings Of Leon that because the only thing that’s wasted on their debut album is the sound. The brilliantly titled Youth And Young Manhood is 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 quart of Jim by the neck and taking all the most agreeable housewives in the vicinity to stud.
This Tennessee-based band are the three brothers Caleb, Jared and Nathan Followill plus cousin Matthew (also Followill), two of’em too young to take a drink in their home burgh of Mt Juliet, TN. With Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams fella) at the controls, the Kings hit the ground at full tilt on “Red Morning Light”, throwing out shards of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Creedence, Dylan, Lou Reed and Beau Brummel Sal Valentino via Caleb’s gloriously rich and earthy vocal. They don’t let up until “Holy Roller Novocaine”, wherein some approximation of Stephen King’s Walking Dude takes you to the mountain top.
Evangelical, darkly proselytising but never redneck, the Kings Of Leon (named after their Pentecostal paw) whip and strut their twin rhythm and lead guitars with Stones-like flair on “Happy Alone”?all high-heeled sleaze and Montana number plate, go country casual over “Joe’s Head” and get Econoline road fever on “California Waiting” and the cranked-up “Spiral Staircase”, which shoves all those tattooed jock rock assholes into a dumper truck.
Get your wallet out.