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Cage The Elephant Rattles The Bars

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 24, 2009 5:30PM

Photo by George Coppock

Cage The Elephant may be from Kentucky but their sound is the stuff that British music mags drool over. If you slow down the Arctic Monkeys to a pleasurable speed that'd give you a good idea of what Cage The Elephant sounds like. Their single "Ain't No Rest For The Wicked" is a midtempo rumination on what appears to be a pretty bummer of a day in the narrator's life with a musical backing off an early Beck album. The band mishes and mashes its influences into engaging nuggets of noise.

The band's core reminds us of another Southern rock success story with three of its members growing up in an "alternative religious commune," only unlike that other Southern band of preacher's sons, Cage The Elephant write actual rock and/or roll tunes. In a prior era Matt Shultz's scratchy tenor would have the power to arrest crowds in a revival tent. The band's whirlwind arrangements surround his voice conjuring imagery of wagon trains spiraling in on themselves in ever tightening concentric circles. Next thing you know, the tempo has halved itself and the listener is suddenly floating above a campfire lit horizon. And, just as suddenly, the band turns on a pin to deliver a jack-hammering rhythmic attack.

Based on the sonic evidence before us, we're beginning to think the band's name is a practice in irony.

Cage The Elephant plays with The Night Marches (who alone would be worth the price of admission, let us tell you) tonight, April 24 at Subterranean, 2011 North, 9 p.m., $14, 17+