These Guys Can’t Be Caged

No,these guys can’t be caged. In fact,they seem to be getting wilder every step of the way.

Written by JimmyJacob | Published: February 19, 2011 12:33:02 am

No,these guys can’t be caged. In fact,they seem to be getting wilder every step of the way.

When Cage the Elephant came out with their eponymous debut album in 2008,critics couldn’t help but look up and take note — especially the naughty-yet-gritty single that advocated No rest for the wicked. For one,their sound was honest. The undercurrents of rebellion and mistrust in their music were not artificially tailored to suit the tastes of a niche audience,and dark as the lyrics were,they did come from the heart.

And then,in January,Thank you,Happy Birthday made its appearance and critics found themselves straining their necks again. A daft title,yes,but what lies beneath is oddly precious.

Always something gives the perfect slinky start to the album,as vocalist Matt Shultz croons along to twanging guitars on the dangers of trusting anybody in life. Aberdeen carries on in the same vein — this time telling you not to bet your life on love either. You burned me once again,it shrieks,Cut the cord,she’s a creep. The style of singing turns quite Cobainesque at times,but then,that’s only to be expected from a band that admits to having found nirvana in Bob Dylan records and has no qualms whatsoever in admitting to being influenced by the greats of the past.

Surprisingly different,Shake me down ambles along on a guitar riff “borrowed” from bassist Daniel Tichenor’s dad. With a bridge that goes Even on a cloudy day,I’ll keep my eyes on the sun,it turns out to be as positive as a song can be in the album.

If there’s one thing that Cage the Elephant do not believe in,it’s operating on the short leash of predictability. Consequently,the tempo of most of the tracks,especially Sabertooth tiger,Sell yourself and Japanese buffalo,shuttles between fast and slow until you don’t know what to expect anymore.

If your taste lies in the unconventional,rushing to the nearest record store could be just what the doctor ordered.

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