ALBUM REVIEW: Cage the Elephant – Tell Me I’m Pretty

As a fan of Cage the Elephant for a couple of years, I’ve discovered that most people have one of three reactions to their sound. People either comment that the song sounds familiar (especially if it’s “Shake me Down” or “Ain’t No Rest For the Wicked”), they ask who the band is as they find the song appealing  or they comment on the fact that despite their familiar sound, they’ve never heard of the band. My favourite fact about Cage the Elephant is that the lead singer, Matt Shultz, likes to stand on the crowd when performing at live shows, and has become somewhat famous for that. However, despite being around since 2006, Cage the Elephant has still not reached the level of recognition that they deserve, especially in the South African scene.

Their eponymous album which was their first release has stood out as their best to date. Despite their other albums featuring some standout tracks, nothing could match up to the original.

Their latest album Tell Me I’m Pretty includes a steady psychedelic 60’s sound threaded through all the tracks, moving away from their Kentucky origin, to adopt a more British influence. “Sweetie Little Jean” is their homage to The Beatles, whilst “Cold Cold Cold” could be mistaken for a grittier Allah Las track. “How Are You True “sounds like a hazy drug-infused come-down – the perfect or the worst song for the Sunday blues.

The influence of bands like Arctic Monkeys and Yardbirds is evident throughout Tell Me I’m Pretty, as the band goes for a cleaner, more refined sound. Whilst the album is enjoyable, it lacks the loose velocity and sheer vigour that was present in earlier albums. The album has shed the raw energy that defined Cage the Elephant – shrugging off the garage rock genre and loud sound, for something more mature, which is not always in the band’s favour.

6/10

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