The Kings of Leon were heavily marketed when their debut came out, and one got the impression they were of a new breed of major label signings: a “homegrown band” the label people no doubt wooed with promises of long-term development in hopes of more closely resembling the independent labels that were starting to outsell their heavily financed brethren. It felt fake and a little bit dirty, but to the credit of RCA, they’ve stuck with the band. Only, they shouldn’t have. They’re fucking terrible. What was once bluesy southern rock sent through a garagey filter is now… grunge, maybe? The guitars are tastelessly recorded — all overdriven and heavily compressed or annoyingly squealy. The vocals leave much to be desired as well — overwrought and showy instead of soulful and contagious. There are high points, like the My Morning Jacket-esque ‘Ragoo’, but they’re not nearly enough. Maybe their seventh or eighth album will have more, but who knows… hopefully they’ll be dropped by then.