Cage The Elephant have achieved a level of greatness in my
mind by doing merely two things; the Bowling Green, Kentucky band
have managed to put out one of the rawest, most straightforward, hook-laden
rock records of the year AND have managed to do it in a band with
one of the dumbest names in a genre of music that is littered with
completely absurd names.. I mean come on, Cage The Elephant? What
the fuck does that mean anyway? Is it a sexual reference? Is it some
southern slang for a drug I've never heard of? Did they just put words
in a hat and draw at random?
Who cares. The name is stupid but the album rocks. The record storms
out the gate, or should I say garage, with the song "In One Ear".
The tune is a stutter-step massive middle finger to all the haters,
critics and naysayers out there that constantly branded them as fakes.
Yes, I know this kind of song has existed since cavemen pounded rocks
together to make "music", but few bands have done it better.
The same can be said for the album. It sounds incredibly familiar.
If you have ever spent more then five minutes listening to The
Kinks, The Strokes, Beck, Led Zep, The
Hives, The Stones, The Kingsmen or any bands on
the hallowed Nuggets compilation then you've heard this album.
But that's entirely beside the point. This album is chock full of
good, catchy, snotty tunes that would play well in any dive bar in
America. " Free Love" is a total balls out psychedelic hippie
jam that could've been on the Woodstock soundtrack. The "big"
single " Ain't No Rest For The Wicked" is a snappy tune
that opens with Dobro slide guitar playing that would be welcomed
in The Delta or on 1960's English white boy blues sanctuary Kings
Row. The song, seemingly detailing the most psychologically trying
day of a young man's life, is as infectious as any blues Jack White
has cranked out. Hell, it's more infectious then Ebola. This is the
way of the entire album.
Matt Shultz's rap-ish/talking/singing delivery is more Jagger
and less Anthony Kiedis (thank god!) and it is solid throughout.
The writing is good and the songs tell stories that every man can
relate to, especially "Back Stabbin' Betty", the tale of
a man that has reached his limit when it comes to a woman that does
nothing but put him down. We've all been there. Right?
The long and short of it is if you are a fan of the revival movement
that is/was Garage Rock, you will flip your shit over this record.
If you are a hipster that hated said movement, you probably won't
like it but then again, you probably only like things that Pitchfork
likes. And if this is the case you more than likely despise rock unless
the word indie is front of it.
Cage The Elephant has tight, quality drumming by Jared Champion,
kickass bass lines, guitar work for days courtesy of Brad Shultz
and a singer that hits you hard like the bastard child of Ray Davies,
Mick Jagger and Johnny Rotten. I will stand by this record
and say it is more than just a marginal album with one or two marginal
singles on it that I will forget in a week. Cage The Elephant
is an awesome summer album and Cage The Elephant is a really good,
energetic band. With a really, really stupid name.
-Danny R. Phillips
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