Thursday, September 18

Cage The Elephant-'Cage The Elephant'

. Thursday, September 18

Cage The Elephant
‘Cage The Elephant’
June ?

Coming straight out of Nashville, Tennessee like it’s still 2002 are Cage The Elephant with an intriguing mix of 70’s inspired guitars and late 90’s rap/ rock vocals. Album opener and previous single ‘In One Ear’ is the Cage The Elephant template mastered to perfection- a studio perfected idea of rock ‘n’ roll hedonism sugar coated into 4 minutes of Radio 1 friendly FM pop. And that is the systematic failure of Cage The Elephant, for all their posing and old school references it is hard to buy into the concept of this band being anything other than a well marketed commercial unit with more than a whiff of the manufacturers yard about them.

Much of this eponymous debut album fits into two categories.

1. The beer can crushed against the skull jock rock.
2. Rocking chair on the front porch reflective country drawl.

‘James Brown’ fits into the first option whilst ‘Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked’ is the latter. ‘Ain’t No Rest..’ is particularly intriguing as it contains the exact same melody as ‘In One Ear’- so the band are copying themselves just three songs into the album. Listeners at this point will have fingers crossed for a few more ideas.

It was puzzling this reviewer as to who Cage The Elephant are reminiscent of, a problem soon solved upon hearing ‘Lotus’. The band are Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Now it depends on your opinion of the California sock botherers as to whether or not this is a good thing however yours truly would rather stick forks in his eyes and watch both series of Britain’s Got Talent on constant loop than revisit the awful sight of RHCP headline set at Leeds Festival 2007. ‘Back Against The Wall’ continues the ‘generous borrowing’ taking A Tribe Called Quests ‘Can You Kick It?’s’ ubiquitous guitar slide and mixing it with ‘Walk On The Wild Side’ by Lou Reed and ‘Walking On The Sun’ by Smash Mouth in a frustrating game of Guess Who Did This First.

The fact this album sounds like a lot of other things is not really an issue, Oasis make a career out of it. what really drags Cage The Elephant down is that everything sounds like they can’t really be bothered. The aggressive side of the album that consists of tracks like ‘Drones In The Valley’, ‘In One Ear’ and ‘Soil To The Sun’ sound really lazy and lack a passion and drive that a group of hungry young men should have in spades. Even previous single ‘Free Love’ that a year ago sounded so urgent and visceral is bogged down by the middling atmosphere of its surroundings.

Ultimately Cage The Elephant are nothing more than a small time band with small time ideas. It’s really best to just give them a wide berth.


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