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Unhinged rock from
Cage The Elephant

Cage The Elephant - Cage The Elephant
(RCA / Jive Records)
4 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: May 5, 2009
Cage The Elephant

Review by Tony Bonyata

Sloppy, explosive and unhinged are certainly not traits one looks for in a girlfriend/boyfriend (well, at least I don't), but when it comes to rock & roll - that is, real rock & roll like Little Richard, The Sonics, The Stooges, The Ramones and The White Stripes - they're quite often necessary evils. While the energy and passion of this primal art form doesn't rear its head nearly often enough - with major label Britney's and American false Idols instead being consumed by the masses like Big Macs and Dilly Bars - when it does it's a refreshing shot in the arm.

Enter Cage The Elephant, a ramshackled rock quintet from Bowling Green. With the release of their self-titled debut album these Kentuckians have tapped into the wild and wooly essence of rock music without incorporating any Southern clichés or forced indie tweeness. From the scrappy opening guitar riff that blasts head-on into a volatile rhythm on "In One Ear" to the '60s garage rockers "James Brown," "Soil To The Sun" and "Drones In The Valley" to frontman Matt Shultz' impassioned, spastic and confrontational vocal attack, it's apparent that CTE are more interested in delivering songs that have more affect on both the heart and feet than the mind. Mixing things up a bit for their first single from the album, "Ain't No Rest For The Wicked" (which peaked at #14 on Billboard's Modern Rock chart), they incorporate a shuffling slide guitar that gives the song a delicious blues flavor.

True passionate rock & roll might seem base and even downright dumb to some, but when a new act like Cage The Elephant comes along with a record as exciting and refreshing as this debut it sure feels brilliant.

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