In many ways, the Followills' music is as classic as their rock-and-roll backstory, but that doesn't mean it's as good. Singer Caleb yowls with a contorted, bluesy burr, and drummer Nathan flails with maracas and high-hat rattling, an overwrought combination beloved by southern-flavored hippies from Black Oak Arkansas to Blues Traveler. The Kings give it hipster cred by adding unexpected musical changes and flashing a gift for quick, Strokeslike rave-ups. Yet for almost every winning mid-range riff, Aha Shake Heartbreak also offers a deadening dose of crude machismo. From the album opener about using an underage groupie to the line "Girls are gonna love the way I toss my hair," these redneck reprobates are a reminder that the green hills have always harbored preachers' sons ready to bluff their way into sex and the city. Fun for a ride, maybe, if you know when to get off.
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