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Review: Tell Me I’m Pretty by Cage the Elephant

Review: Tell Me I’m Pretty by Cage the Elephant


Artist: Cage the Elephant

Album: Tell Me I’m Pretty

Genre: Indie Rock with hints of Spaghetti Western soundtracks

Recommended if you like: Arctic Monkeys, The Fratellis, Black Keys


The fourth studio album from Kentucky-based Cage the Elephant is an interesting new development for the band who broke into the scene in 2009 with their self-titled album. Their new album, Tell Me I’m Pretty, is produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys and The Arcs. It maintains the unique sound of Cage the Elephant, yet still manages to accomplish the difficult task of creating something that sounds new. The stand-out element on this album comes in the form of the Spaghetti Western vibes infused throughout that make you feel like you’re watching something out of the 1960’s or at times a Quentin Tarantino film.

While Tell Me I’m Pretty stands on its own, this band does not forget where they came from. Cage the Elephant fans can hear the progression of sound from album to album and this work even hearkens back to their break-out hit, “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” in their new song “Trouble.” This track is fantastic and even has a rhythmic scheme similar to Alt-J’s “Breezeblocks.” Listen for yourself.

YouTube / CageTheElephantVEVO – via Iframely

Compared to this.

YouTube / alt – via Iframely

Another major strength of this album is the fact that every single song is worth listening to. Not to say that every song is perfect or that every single song sounds remarkably independent. That is something to be wary of when listening – at times songs do seem to bleed together. However, what continues to amaze me about this band is the intelligence and wit that goes into songwriting. As we’ve become accustomed to with Cage the Elephant, the lyrics are a strong point. This album is certainly no exception. The lyrical mood of this album is characteristically dark and pensive. In contrast, the melodic mood is reminiscent of spaghetti westerns of the 1960’s with driving guitar and piano.

One standout is “How Are You True” as a particularly sad track, specifically because the entire mood of the song is cohesive. Another interesting song on this album is “Sweet Little Jean,” a darker track, pairing unsettling lyrics with upbeat music. The song was inspired by tragic events of lead singer Matt Schultz’s childhood when a friend was abducted and murdered. The haunting lyrics are definitely memorable.

Certainly if you are a fan of Cage the Elephant, this album is worth a listen. For people new to Cage the Elephant, this band will impress you with their thoughtful lyrics and guitar lines that will make you close your eyes and shake your head.

Rebekah Romberg

February 9th, 2016

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