Cage The Elephant

Thank You Happy Birthday

Written by: TL on 03/03/2011 17:35:59

While I'm uncertain of how many mainland-Europeans have heard of the band Cage The Elephant, their rise to fame state-side and in the UK has been quite meteoric, with the band going from forming as lately as 2006, to touring their home country this march, with none but Biffy Clyro as a support band. I realize Biffy Clyro likely aren't anywhere as big in the states as they are in the UK, but still, me being a great big fan of theirs, my eyes instantly widened when I saw that they were going to support a band I hadn't even heard about. Instantly, I decided to check out Cage The Elephant and their much acclaimed sophomore album "Thank You Happy Birthday".

It reads from the Kentucky-bred five-piece's wikipedia, that the band moved from the states to London in 2007, and why I don't know the exact reason, I'd wager it being a consequence of them being quite inspired by brit-rock. At least "Thank You Happy Birthday" sounds like a band taking the styles of Arctic Monkeys and Kasabian, and treating them with a recklessness that surely only Americans can muster. What that means is, that while there are similarly retro-tinged elements in the soundscape, Cage The Elephant mostly throw a massive wrench in the machinery, in the form of a sort of garage-punk attitude, all about kicking up as big noise as possible.

Effectively the best thing about the band seems to not be how well they assemble their sounds into carefully considered songs, but rather how fragmented, fucked up and surprising they can manage to come off. Some songs, like "Aberdeen" and "Shake Me Down", sound a little like the noisier explorations on The Xcert's recent "Scatterbrain". Another, "Indy Kidz" for instance, takes a dive into spooky, fast-paced Queens Of The Stone Age territory, only to briefly tease you with slightly brighter parts, while poking fun at people who overly obsess about hair-cuts.

While the cheeky attitude occasionally isn't enough to maintain listener interest, and while you could argue that there isn't a whole lot of depth to the ideas on "Thank You Happy Birthday", for the most part things are so delightfully energetic, brazen - and most importantly; catchy - that the album as a whole stands out more enjoyable than not. Extra highlights such as "Sabertooth Tiger", "Sell Yourself" and "Always Something" are just further examples of things that sound like... a party in a rainbow-coloured junkyard in the middle of an earthquake? If that mental image seems appealing, this comes highly recommended.

Download: Aberdeen, Indy Kidz, Shake Me Down, Sabertooth Tiger
For The Fans Of: Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian, The Hives, The Xcerts
Listen: myspace.com/cagetheelephant

Release Date 11.01.2011
Jive / Universal

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