Cage The Elephant’s new album Thank You, Happy Birthday unleashes the beast of a band at its best. Formed in Bowling Green, Kentucky back in 2006, the band released their self-titled album in 2008 , which featured a catchy and promising single that told listeners a little story about how there “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked.” The band quickly became known for their insanely energetic live performances and recently took the stage during Day 2 of the Coachella Music Festival.
Thank You, Happy Birthday picks up right where Cage the Elephant left off, featuring the same attitude, rawness, and uncut edge and employing the same garage and punk sounds found on the band’s self-titled release. Their disoriented way of making music always sounds a bit fuzzy, but the energy brought forth through these songs is intense even if you have no idea what Matthew Shultz is yelling in your ear over the guitar distortion and grime galore.
The album begins with “Always Something,” a song about getting home an hour early and walking in on one’s wife with another man. As Shultz sings “It’s always something, Before the late night, Around the corner there’s always something waiting for ya,” He almost seems to be talking about the album itself. Thank You, Happy Birthday takes many twists and turns, always making the listener wonder what is next.
“Indy Kidz” puts hipsters on the spot with a hilarious song on the subculture. The cynical, almost repetitive, fully ecstatic song begins with “I WANNA BE JUST LIKE YOU!” It’s songs like these where I question the band’s sanity: “I don’t watch TV cause it’s just a box of lies. It makes me want to stick a tooth pick in my mind…I got- I gotta go down to the school house and get some…and…and get some shoes…and get the right hair cut…get the right hair cut.” The stream-of-consciousness song structure is strikingly addictive. It’s as if they are just jamming out and playing what comes to mind naturally.
There is nothing but psychedelic electric bliss as we meet the “Sabertooth Tiger.” Apparently, it lives on the other side of town and might actually be looking for you, but if you ever come across it, be sure to run because it is mighty hungry according to Cage the Elephant. Halfway through the song, things slow down before gradually speeding back up with rage similar to that of a hardcore band’s break down; literally all hell breaks loose as Shultz yells “HE WAS A SABER TOOTH TIGER!” I don’t know if these lyrics hold a deeper meaning, but boy do these guys have fun with them.
For all you that might be thinking this is too much to handle, Thank You, Happy Birthday does slow down a bit with songs like the first single ”Shake Me Down” and “Rubber Ball.” I don’t know what these guys are on, but they sure know how to make some crazy music. No two tracks ever seem redundant, and there is something for everyone on this album, especially if you have a little aggressive rocker in you.
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