It’s hard to think of many peers for Cage the Elephant. They’re a young Kentucky rock band riffing on Zep and garage-punk without retro nostalgia; whip-smart songwriters un-beloved by hipsters; rock-radio hitmakers who play with the unhinged mania of a warehouse set. On “Melophobia” they’re in a class of their own among big, unit-shifting rock bands who can play with the scrap and imagination of van-tour vermin.
“Melophobia” is bit more stoned and mellow than their raucous breakthrough “Thank You, Happy Birthday,” but daydreams suit them just fine. “Spiderhead” is a great blast of paranoia, and “teeth” comes the closest of any contemporaries to evoking to ghosts of Jack & Meg White. “Take It or Leave It” breaks ESG’s punk sass down to its parts and rebuilds it as a loopy, fractured funk.
How do you peg all this on the bombed-out major label landscape? Who knows. Let’s just be glad to have such imagination on our drive time rock radio again.
Cage the Elephant
Three stars (out of four)