Kings of Leon, "Radioactive"

78 Billboard Rating

Kings of Leon were U.K. darlings long before singles like "Sex on Fire" and "Use Somebody" helped them find success in the American modern rock realm. However, the Tennessee band's Southern roots are front and center on "Radioactive," the first single from its upcoming fifth studio album, "Come Around Sundown." The Kings scale back their instrumentation on the song, relying on the straightforward rock of their older albums instead of the stadium-sized sound of 2008's "Only by the Night." The band's inventive percussion choices are matched by Caleb Followill's gritty vocals and a gospel choir that sings, "It's in the water/It's in the story, where you came from." The refrain's spiritual quality gives the song an old-world feel that separates "Radioactive" from most of today's rock radio staples.