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Cage the Elephant, ‘Thank You Happy Birthday’ (Jive)

Mikael Wood // January 11, 2011

Openly emulating Black Francis, Gordon Gano, and the dude from Cake, frontman Matt Shultz spends the second album by his Kentucky band spewing street-corner inanities over aggro-funk clatter. Sounds terrible, yet these guys attack tracks like “Sell Yourself” with so much pent-up energy that Shultz ends up selling his crackpot ideas. (Maybe the TV is just a box of lies!) No less important, they’ve got hooks: “Right Before My Eyes” feels like the kind of fuzzy, poppy alt-rock radio hit alt-rockers just don’t make anymore.