Thank You, Happy Birthday


With just two albums under its belt, Kentucky’s Cage the Elephant has transformed itself from a Lou Reed-meets-Red Hot Chili Peppers funk-punk outfit into something a bit darker. Trading away vocalist Matt Shultz’s previous raps for jarring screams will probably result in the band being less of a frat-house favorite, but it should also make it clear that this is a lead singer to keep an eye on. Like Peter Wolf, Shultz can boogie and pout equally well in the same song (“Around My Head”). And though his sneering and sarcasm aren’t close to Jagger territory, they’re charismatic enough to get the Hives’ Pelle Almqvist looking over his shoulder. Extra points go to whoever decided to slip the harshly mocking “Indy Kidz” onto the track list. If you’re going to spend a good chunk of your time throwing musical tantrums, you might as well let people know you’re in on the joke. –David Styburski

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