Cage the Elephant have a new album out, and use it to prove to the critics that they aren’t the one trick ponies their debut showcased. While their self-titled was good and had more than a few memorable singles, the group expands upon their modern southern sound and creates a much more electic batch of songs here. The only gripe is how their influences stain their sleeves, but that’s not something people pay attention to when there’s a band rocking out in front of them.
The biggest musical focus point on this record seemd to be the task of updating the Pixies’ sound to 2011 standards. They did it, flat out. In fact, they did it better than Kings of Leon did on their third album, which is saying something. Matt Schultz is a dead ringer for Frank Black when he wants to be, scream and all. Check out “Aberdeen” if you’re looking for that. Then there’s Oasis, whose melodies show up all over “Around My Head.” Once again, this isn’t a bad thing, for the band keeps their angsty snarl throughout the record, and that’s more than enough to overcome any cries of “ripoff” that other critics are sure to throw at the band.
If you miss the Moldy Peaches, look no further than a lullaby melody in “Rubber Ball” to soothe your longing. I do wish this track was placed later on the album, as it disrupts a flow built up on the first half, but that was their call. One of my personl favorites (other than lead single “Shake Me Down”) is “Japanese Buffalo,” which reminds me of the Avett Brothers for some reason. It also is a spiritual sequel to the Harlem Shakes’ “Eighteen,” with a doo wop homage that sadly never made it away from demo form for the latter band.
While there are influences more apparent than others, the album is a short and enjoyable listen in the end. There aren’t really any songs I’d consider bad except maybe “Always Something,” but that’s only because it has too much of their bare bones swagger to be the first thing you hear. “Aberdeen would have been a good place to start the album, but maybe that’s just me. One thing I waill say is that if you like this album, I urgently ask you to check out the Rock n Roll Soldiers‘ So Many Musicians to Kill from 2006. It is very much in the same vein as this album and was unfortunately overlooked as the great album it is.
Ok, that’s all I have to say. Enjoy the new single, followed by an old rehash…