Friday, October 26, 2012

Smoke and Jackal

I've always thought that it must be hard for a guitarist with vocal flair and front man potential to be in a band, on the wings of the stage, watching someone else take the lead on the musical project. Don't get me wrong, I'm very, very aware that each band is a concerted effort and everyone plays a dynamic role - but, naturally, the lead singer becomes the sort of face of the project. And when the face is that of your brother's - a notoriously fascinating rock character - I would understand motivation to branch out and embark on your own musical mission for a change.

Jared Folowill, the fresh-faced (read: beautiful) 25 year-old bassist brother from Southern-rock superstar group Kings of Leon, hopped into the studio this summer to work on a collaboration project called Smoke and Jackal, with Mona lead singer Nick Brown - and the result is an agreeable pop-rock listen in the form of "No Tell," the duo's first single.

Stadium-ready electric guitar echoes through the simple balladry, and although little Followill has the right ingredients in place for his own catchy side stint, I'd look forward to hearing something with a few more layers - namely thoughtful storytelling and more invasive percussion. It's nice to hear the bassist twist his talent into something outside of KOL stardom, but as of now, it still sounds leans towards mimicking the commercialized recent releases from his native rock foursome. Either way, the song is enjoyable radio rock, and I sense that as an eager, front man-ready newlywed - who is, after all, still a Followill - he has the potential to give us a little more to work with down the road.

What do you think?

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