Album Reviews

Cage The Elephant – “Tell Me I’m Pretty”

Cage The Elephant – "TELL ME I’M PRETTY" 2015 album cover

This new release picks up right where 2013’s Melophobia left off. Bringing a twangy and jangly base, poetic and just-obscure-enough lyrics, and addictive/anthemic hooks. It shows just enough growth over the previous album to peek interest, but confirms that they have established their sound and are comfortable in that skin.

The compilation contains 10 delectable tracks.

Cage The Elephant – "TELL ME I’M PRETTY" 2015 album cover

01 – Cry Baby
02 – Mess Around
03 – Sweetie Little Jean
04 – Too Late To Say Goodbye
05 – Cold Cold Cold
06 – Trouble
07 – How Are You True
08 – That’s Right
09 – Punchin’ Bag
10 – Portuguese Knife Fight

Cry Baby kicks off the album with a 60’s day-trotting drone. A classic feel with just enough gruff to get your head bobbing in time. It slowly shifts gears into a psychedelic wash that fades into nothing. An enticing way to welcome the listener in and keep them around for more.

Mess Around keeps along the same path. A bouncy beat, with a Surf/Fuzz rock mélange. The repetive echo of the backing vocals permeate the ears and leave the song sweetly balanced and memorable.

Sweetie Little Jean is a warm song that brings in a British-Invasion feel topped with more psych-y vocals. There is also sweet moments of lighter vocals that draw attention to the lyrics.

Too Late To Say Goodbye slows things down a bit, pulling a psych high-ball with a punchy back. This song is very tasty on the palate.

Cold Cold Cold steps things back up. It has more aggression and energy, but still maintains the same overall vibe. Tambourine lined songs, with ultra fuzzy guitar spots and faded vocals are always welcome.

Trouble has the most focus on vocals this far. Starting off with a soft poetic opening, and building to a moderate and steady swaying beat, topped with the right amount of Ooo Ooo Ooo’s.

How Are You True keeps with the previous songs opening pacing. It lays out a vulnerable ballad over a near-symphonic instrumental backing, plus some La La La’s to ice the cake to taste.

That’s Right is back in the bouncy, entrancing psych drone bucket. The peppering of twangy guitar is a very nice touch.

Punchin’ Bag is ultra punchy; pound, pound, pound. It shakes your eyes open within the album progression. The bump-bump-bump to the song with the levels and mix of the guitars has a really close correlation to White Stripes – Seven Nation Army, they definitely share the same timbre at times.

Portuguese Knife Fight wraps things up with a nice neat bow. It has this buildup in the instrumental vs lyrical delivery that reminds me of The Hives – Hate to Say I Told You So. This one also has the best/most-memorable opening to any song on the album. This seems like it could be a single.

Overall the album plays out nicely in the ear. It is easy listening enough that it can be background noise to whatever task you are doing, but intriguing enough to draw you into replay loops. Making it deserving of more focus and attention to the offering that the band has brought forth.

It feels like this album may have been influenced by the Beatles. Some patterns match up between their early catalog and this compilation.

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