Well, let me cut straight to the chase - this is a superb album, full of raw energy and passion and is just about as good as heavy indie gets. Also, for a debut, these guys from Kentucky have produced something close to exceptional. The opener, 'In One Ear' is a big, brash, brilliant stunner, featuring a looping, bluesy riff and some great lyrics delivered in a breathless, half-sung, half-spoken ballsy sneer. Track two, 'James Brown', continues the high-tempo, high-energy feel of the album and is a more-than-decent cut, even if the chorus sounds a little like a Terrorvision track. 'Aint No Rest For The Wicked' is a bluesy, sleazy, slide-guitar driven song which is extremely catchy. 'Tiny Little Robots' is less impressive, but still manages to be a decent, hard-rocking album track with some nice guitar work towards the end.
Pleasingly enough, Cage The Elephant mix things up nicely to keep the album feeling varied and fresh. 'Lotus' reminds me heavily of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, being a gratifying rock/funk high energy hybrid. 'Back Against The Wall', a future single, is a stop/start piece of classy paranoia whereas 'Drones In The Valley' is a loud, crashing piece of heavy, infectious rock. It is evident throughout the album that one of the major talents in the band is guitarist Brad Shultz but his work really shines on the raw, but crafted, 'Judas'. Both 'Back Stabbin' Betty' and 'Soil To The Sun' are good, pedal to the metal rockers which bring us, almost breathless, to the last track, Cage The Elephant's first single, the high-tempo, adrenaline-pumping 'Free Love', which finishes the album on a high.
Cage The Elephant's debut is the kind of album which is so energetic, it can either leave you feeling pumped-up or exhausted, depending on your mood. It's certainly one of the best debut albums of the year and, should they repeat the success of this album, there's no reason why their popularity and status shouldn't grow with their next release. Great stuff!
Well the first time I had ever heard of the band was with vocalist Matt Schultz appearance on British comedy show "Never Mind The Buzzcocks." He formed an unlikely alliance with Stephen Fry and Josie Long. The bands music wasn't played or even that heavily mentioned in the show, but thanks to Matts antic I became intrigued at what this band had to offer. Were they just another indy band with nothing new to give, or were they something fresh and original amongst a bland "pop-rock indy" music scene.
They are definitely the latter in that respect and have brought to a world audience possibly the best album of 2008. From "In One Ear" to "Free Love" Cage the Elephant present a delightful, cool, loud and crazy album that will have all the bland indy music lovers wake up and realise originality and talent when they hear it.
The vocals of Matt Schultz is definitely the most enticing part of the band as although it's not something I haven't heard before, he has a sort of reminiscent rebellious tone to his voice that I'm not sure why but remind me of the great punk bands the Ramones, The Clash and even the Sex Pistols. Cage The Elephant are nowhere near as controversial as these legendary bands, but they're certainly just as loud and abrupt and really make you want to get on your feet and go nuts when listening to their music.
The guitar and bass by Brad Shultz, Daniel Titchenor and Lincoln Parish definitely add to that old school feel and sometimes mimic the equally awesome guitar talents of Pistols guitarist Steve Jones.
My Top 5 are
1. Aint No Rest For The Wicked 2. In One Ear 3. Back Stabbin' Betty 4. James Brown 5. Free Love
Make no mistakes about Cage The Elephant. They aren't your typical American Rock band, with their unique style and delivery they feel more like a love child to the Arctic Monkeys and the Libertines. No wonder they are finding the UK easier to crack than the States.
The album begins at a frantic pace with "In One Ear" and follows with "James Brown" and "Ain't No Rest For The Wicked". Quite simply, as with many great albums, it never lets the listener settle, never quite sure what is to follow, and grabs hold of them until the end of the album.
"Ain't No Rest For The Wicked" was a single that broke the top 40 earlier this year and with it's catchy lyrics and funky beat it is no surprise. "Tiny Little Robots" continues the fast pace assault but after 2:30 slows down to catch breath and give enough before "Lotus" kicks in with duel guitars and strong beat. Most songs on here last 3-4 minutes and they flash by, and certainly leaves me hungry for more.
There is enough variation in the tracks to avoid the pitfall of being too samey (Linkin Park - Hybrid Theory), fill an album with fillers (Razorlight - Razorlight) and they also dodge the opportunity to trip up by breaking their assault with a badly placed slower number (Hot Chip - Made in the Dark). What they do instead, which seems to work very well, is taper out and in on certain tracks to give enough space before the next feelgood hit.
It is very difficult to name the standout tracks, as it is all good. "Judas", "Back Against The Wall", "Back Stabbin Betty" which make up the middle section are as good as the opening three.
Quite simply the album is what many bands have promised over the years and failed to deliver. The tempo changes, song selection, lyrical content, delivery, production are all spot on. This beats anything over the last 2-3 years and will take something really rather special to challenge it to album of the year 2008.
*** Like: Fratellis, The Libertines, Pigeon Detectives ***
Been to see these guys a couple of times now and they're energy and interaction with the crowd (all but the drummer jumps in there) make them an exciting new prospect and this album doesn't disappoint.
The catchy rock rhythms and chili-esque vocals won't be to everybody's taste (particularly the current wave of music purists who are desperate to brag about the more obscure random bands out there and dismiss anything slightly mainstream and popular) but I deny anybody to not want to jump around to "In One Ear" or "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked".
It's quite raw but for a debut album, I'd expect nothing less! More good things to come from these guys
This is great stuff. Raw and alive and it hits you right between the ears. For anyone familiar with the Nuggets collection featuring some of the greatest US garage bands of the 1960's, this is garage band music for the 21st century. For younger readers, once you've checked out Cage The Elephant, dig out some tracks by the likes of Count Five, Chocolate Watch Band, The Remains and the Electric Prunes and you'll see what I mean. It's the best debut album I've heard for ages.
I discovered these guys whilst watching Later...with Jools Holland. WOW! What a revelation! Raw, energetic, funky, dirty, bluesy, garage rock n' roll! This is undoubtebly the best debut album of the year, and one of the best albums to be released in 2008, full stop. They are like the bastard love-child of The Stone Roses and funk-era Red Hot Chili Peppers, after a threesome with The Ramones. I'll be playing this album for a long time. BUY IT!!!