REVIEW: Cage The Elephant – “Thank You Happy Birthday”

Cage The Elephant / Thank You Happy Birthday / Universal

Glancing at its high school photograph, it’s difficult to distinguish Thank You Happy Birthday’s personality. The clean-cut image expedited by tender alt rock sound waves has it talking in a radio-ready tongue but the pre-Gaga grunge rock screams otherwise. Such a two-faced charade is deadly to holster but it has triggered Cage The Elephant’s inner artist. The Kentucky outfit drift along a rather warped path with “Rubber Ball” and its ominous yet delicate nature and “2024” being straight-up shimmy-inducing.

Angst does blow up in your face, jump-kicking aimlessly (“Indy Kidz”, “Japanese Buffalo”) and it’s almost majestic to see it flower from vocalist Matt Shultz’s scarred ball of emotion. “You got me foamin’ at the knees / Saw the flame, tasted sin, you burned me once again,” wails the group’s frontman on the addictive “Aberdeen”. Though it’s not a repeat of dirty south rock, the sophomore sweat and heartache ignore negative expectations. The restless hooks trapped inside Thank You generate youth, helping Cage The Elephant destroy thoughts of maturity and the genre tags that come with it.

Download: “Around My Head”, “Aberdeen”


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