Cage the Elephant

Thank You Happy Birthday

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    7
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A time warp mash of the Pixies, Oasis, the Arctic Monkeys, and Kasabian that hails from, of all places, Bowling Green, KY, Cage the Elephant are out of step, out of style, and out of place on their second effort, like alt-rock kids trapped in an indie rock world. Thank You Happy Birthday bangs hard on the guitars and swaggers like the Shins never happened, but once hot, fast tracks like “2024” and “Right Before My Eyes” sink their hooks into the listener, it doesn’t matter much that the band is an odd patchwork quilt of alt-rock nostalgia. If this was some supergroup that splintered off the Smashing Pumpkins it would make perfect sense, but these memorable songs are delivered with the same energetic push the band displayed on its self-titled debut, so the strong sense of purpose is intact. Big, winding numbers like “Aberdeen” and “Indy Kidz” display growth and the electronica touches found throughout the effort are welcome acknowledgments that this is a post-Radiohead world. While the grand and sometimes snotty lyrics might not be to all tastes, anyone who misses the days when rock radio loved Nirvana and Blur will find his retro rave-up easy to embrace.

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