The first Cage The Elephant song I've heard was 'In One Ear', their successful single from their first, self-titled album. I thought it was a good bluesy rock song, and I decided to check out the whole record. After a few spins I figured all their songs sound the same and that the album is nothing special. But it was fairly enjoyable. I watched a few recorded live shows on youtube and found out that they are really spectacular. The singer, Matt Shultz was jumping into the crowd, singing while crowd surfing and he basically made the people go mad. This was back in 2009 and I remember thinking that if this band was going to put out another record I'll have to check it out, because I felt like they do have potential.
Then early 2011 their second LP entitled 'Thank You, Happy Birthday' finally came out. I thought that with this album CTE would either prove themselves to be a really awesome band or that it's gonna be exactly like their debut showing that this is just another rock band that will be forgotten in a few years. Neither of the two was the case.
The record kicks off with 'Always Something'. A really promising strart - haunting drum beats and great bass lines, a song that gets you moving. This one showed that the band had matured musically. Great song. The next one is called 'Aberdeen' and it sounds like anything from their debut, maybe with a little more Pixies influence. It's enjoyable though. Then comes the extremely ironic but awesome 'Indy Kidz', a great song with a fantastic one minute bass driven instrumental part at the end.
At this point I really thought that this album is gonna be decent and 'Shake Me Down' made me absolutely sure about it. A touching song with radio friendly melodies, but still being unique in some way. Then came '2024' and with it's only three minutes it easily destroyed my bubble of this record being pure awesomeness. It sounds like something from the first album but it's just terrible. It has really nothing interesting about it, except that it starts to get annoying halfway through.
From this point on the record goes up and down. It still has it's great moments like 'Sabertooth Tiger', a song that I definitely want to see live one day. It's fast, heavy and punk influenced, with Matt going crazy this is sure awesome live. 'Rubber Ball' is a nice and quiet ballad and even 'Sell Yourself' is a pretty good but weird song. It sounds nothing like their debut which makes it even better.
'Around My Head' kinda sounds like '2024' and it isn't much better. Along with 'Right Before My Eyes' it's one of the low points of the album. The worst one is 'Japanese Buffalo' though. It is like a bad joke. I'm not sure it was ment to be taken seriously but I'm sure it was a bad idea to put it on the record. The last song is 'Flow', a pretty good ballad including an acoustic version of 'Right Before My Eyes'. It's a thousand times better than the plugged version.
Cage the elephant showed us that they can make some killer music, but still it looks like they haven't really found their sound yet. To me this record gave them another few years until their next album comes out. Probably that one will consist of quality music only and not just some great songs and some that are average or even worse. So I suggest you to listen to their better songs: Always Something, Indy Kidz, Shake Me Down, Rubber Ball, Sabertooth Tiger and Flow.
And if CTE are going to put out another record you should definitely check it out, it could be a really good one.