When the sunburnt southern rock of their early albums became the stadium-sized sound of Only By The Night, Kings Of Leon lost their way. The Followill tribe (three brothers, one cousin) began to believe their own media hype as follow-up release Come Around Sundown did nothing better than tread water and, after a shameful drunken episode on-stage at the Edinburgh Film Festival in 2011 (and similar behaviour by singer Caleb at subsequent gigs on their US tour), it wasn't surprising to hear them announce a hiatus.
Well, the egos have been set aside for Mechanical Bull and the band have rediscovered their reasons for rocking in the first place. There's a jangle to the guitars and a snap to the bass on opening track and recent single Supersoaker, with Caleb Followill finding a gruffer edge to his voice that stops it from sounding like a barfly whining in your ear.
The bourbon-fuelled guitar solo that intros Rock City finds them back on firmer southern turf and sets a template for a set of tunes that embrace the band's roots - somewhere between Springsteen and The Strokes via Lynyrd Skynyrd et al - rather than dilute them for a cheap shot at festival headline glory.