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Cage The Elephant - 'In One Ear'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:12 UK time, Saturday, 4 October 2008

Cage The ElephantI'm not entirely sure what to make of this band, really I'm not. When I first heard this song I thought "why is some British band making such American-sounding music?" and then I thought about the problem and realised the question is actually "why does an American band making American-sounding music sound so much like they're British?"

There's something slightly Arctic Monkeys about this lot, in the guitar parts, although the most instant comparison that comes to mind is a snottier, younger Wolfmother (Cubdaughter, anyone?). It's weirdly fashionably unfashionable, with that Kasabian-esque strut but then some kid rapping shambolically over the top, which sounds jarring and weird.

The weirdest thing about the song, however, is that the lyrics conveniently write this review for me:

"And I'm a phoney in disguise,
Tryin to make the radio,
I'm an anti-social anarchist dyslexic so and so,
They say I'm just a stupid kid,
Just a crazy radical,
Rock and roll is dead I probably should've stayed in school,
Another generation X who somehow slipped up through the crack,
They'd love to see me fall but I'm already on my back"

WELL. Fine then, take the words right out of my mouth. There'd be a few more quotation marks in that section if I had my way, since I don't think he's either a 'crazy radical' or an 'anti-social anarchist' but this is basically one of those songs that will go down very well with people who like to imagine their life is part of Skins and leave quite a lot of other people rather cold.

If I'm going to listen to a sort of "the kids aren't alright but don't worry, we're enjoying it" sort of chant then I'd rather have a bash at 'Everybody Knows' from the most recent McFly album. I guess this is the sort of trendier, more racket-y version thereof, though and if you're into trendy rackets then I guess you'll probably like this.

I don't know, kids. Do you feel disenfranchised? Let down by life? Old before your time? Misunderstood and misjudged by elders who constantly assume you're up to something you're usually not? Over-criticised and maligned? Frustrated? I do, most of the time, being an broke, young and unemployed but I can't say this does anything at all for me; the static-y, scratchy production does nothing for the more-than-decent playing and the band just seem like they could be better than this sort of lazy rubbish if they bothered but this is what sells, so...

It sounds like a sort of annoying party anthem more than anything making a statement, so I'm afraid I'll have to "fire the flames" and send some of my criticism "in one ear and straight out the other" of this lot, since I can't really work out what they're even trying to do here, to be honest.

Two stars Download: Out now
CD Released: October 6th

(Hazel Robinson)


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