Cage The Elephant - Tell Me I'm Pretty (B-)

When Cage The Elephant broke onto the scene in 2009 with their self titled debut it was a short lived moment of appreciation. Their sound was good but at the same time it was nothing new. There wasn’t a lot of depth, it just was what it was. Since then though, they’ve been a bit of a surprise. Despite still lacking a layered approach that makes a band sustainable (for me), I do find myself going back to them for singles from time to time. What they lack in complexity they make up for in rawness of sound. In the seven year absence of Modest Mouse (2007-2014) they released three albums and acted as my sort-of fix and I was grateful to them. Even through their ascent to popularity they have stayed true to their loud, unpolished rock sound and I think that’s honestly what’s kept me coming back. Bands with this sort of sound can sometimes fall out of it when they start to gain fame a la Cold War Kids, so it was refreshing to hear them stick to who they were while also exploring other sounds within their realm. They did add a slight change to their flow with 2013’s Melophobia (my favorite album of theirs) and have expanded on that with Tell Me I’m Pretty. This new effort is by far their most diverse. It’s strays away from the garage band thrash opting instead to rely on more of a bluesy rock guitar sound, which is the direct result of Dan Auerbach’s production. In other words we’re met with less head banging and more head bobbing. I was constantly hit with an Arctic Monkeys vibe, which they’re more than capable of handling. As they explored new dimensions of rock they still put their spin on it, whether it be dance (“Mess Around”), retro (“That’s Right”), or stripped (“Trouble”), the vibe is consistent. Like their other records I’m not sure if it will have staying power for me, but for now, they’ve got my ear. Good stuff. I'll post two singles for this one to give you a more well rounded feel for what they're offering.