"Cage the Elephant" by Cage the Elephant

Cage The Elephant
Cage the Elephant

Jive Records
2009

Review

Cage The Elephant's album reminded me of how I was disappointed in the last Arctic Monkey's record and why; Humbug was such a departure from the fun that endeared Arctic Monkey's so well to me. Thankfully I had this record to fill the void that the Arctic Monkey's left behind.

In many ways Cage The Elephant sound very much like the style that Arctic Monkey's abandoned; namely a lazy-ish signing delivery and very hype guitars heavy on the catchy rhythms and pretty much just getting down and having a great time doing it. "In One Ear" sums it up pretty well:

I'm a phony in disguise trying to make the radio
I'm an antisocial antichrist just sound like so and so
They say I'm just a stupid kid not a crazy radical
Rock and Roll is dead
I should have probably stayed in school

That's what I like in my good time Rock and Roll music! Some in your face we're just having a blast lyrics. It is true that this band doesn't always sound original. In that sense, it remains a pretty excellent genre entry. However, when they add some good old fashioned southern rock and roll to the Arctic Monkey soup the songs become better than expected. One of these moments is already blowing up the radio in "Back Against The Wall". But lighting strikes again a few other places starting earlier on the album with "Ain't No Rest For The Wicked" which is down home, southern rock and roll with an extra bit of attitude. This style also shines on "Judas" with its excellent dark and layered guitars (that then goes bat-shit crazy at the end).

Even if they don't always bring about their "A-Game", so to speak, their "B-Game" is just so much fun that you can't really fault them at all. For their next serving they'll have to step it up a bit more so as to break expectation, but what is here shows great promise for the future. I suspect that if they move their sound to be a bit more Kings of Leon and less Arctic Monkeys that their next record will be something truly special. For now, they are truly a lot of fun and that's already a pretty good start.

4.000 out of 5

Track Ratings

1. In One Ear (04:01) 4
2. James Brown (03:20) 4
3. Ain't No Rest for the Wicked (02:55) 4
4. Tiny Little Robots (04:10) 3
5. Lotus (03:16) 5
6. Back Against the Wall (03:48) 5
7. Drones in the Valley (02:27) 3
8. Judas (03:26) 5
9. Back Stabbin' Betty (03:39) 4
10. Soil to the Sun (03:17) 4
11. Free Love (03:28) 3