Lock yourself away from the world.
Only allow the influence of England create your surroundings.
Listen to heavy doses of The Pixies and The Butthole Surfers while plucking away 50’s surf rock influence on a guitar.
Though this sounds a lot like a typical Saturday for me, this is actually the foundation of Thank You, Happy Birthday.
Opening with an obviously Frank Black influenced scream in “Always Something”, the second studio adventure is delivered with uninhibited force and gives the sensation of pounding a Red Bull while boxing Brad Pitt’s Pikey character from Snatch.
These audible fisticuffs are reeled back in, if only for a moment, with “Shake Me Down” and “Rubber Ball”. These songs turn the proverbial dial from 11 to 6. The remaining the 39 minutes of the album leaves me feeling like I need to sit down and catch my breath.
Being a big fan of their 2008 self titled, I was very eager to have a go at this. Combined with the first single from this album, “Shake Me Down”, how could you not be drawn into the hypnotic gaze that is their rolling melodies and unique sound? I quickly realized neither is a fully accurate indicator of what this latest release would hold. I think it worthwhile to say this is not the same laid back, leisure garage rock we have grown to associate with Cage The Elephant. Although, I can hardly say I’m disappointed with the new direction they have taken. It is easy to appreciate the influences for each of the tracks. Guitar riffs influenced by The Shins, vocals running the rails laid by The Pixies, and an entire near-ode to The Butthole Surfers with “Indy Kidz”.
This helping of noodly distorted effects, screaming vocals, and occasional machine gun drumming certainly conveys the change in emotion from the happy, almost up beat ramblings of their first. And even though everything inside me tells me I should be drooling over this album, I should love every beat and riff, yet I find myself not able to fully get into it. There’s something here, but I’m not getting it now – I’ll give it another listen in a few weeks.