If your sister were Anita Miller from Almost Famous, she might tell you to listen to Tell Me I'm Pretty with a candle burning. Matthew Shultz has hit the mark lyrically and vocally here, inviting listeners into the emotionally charged and honest world that Cage the Elephant inhabit. Although we still hear his lo-fi, distorted vocals throughout the record, many moments are left confidently unadorned and clear.
On songs like "Mess Around" and "Punchin' Bag," the record reflects the influence of its producer, Dan Auerbach, with smooth, hypnotic rhythms and bluesy guitar hooks. Don't be too quick to judge, though — this record is full of changing styles. The climactic "Too Late To Say Goodbye" is reminiscent of Adele's "Skyfall," and "Trouble" opens with deep, stirring vocals akin to Taylor Kirk of Timber Timbre. The record also mixes in '60s garage rock, dramatic shifts in tempo and plenty of oohing and aahing that evoke Cage the Elephant's classic sound.
With the release of Melophobia in 2013, listeners saw Cage create a new identity; Tell Me I'm Pretty takes that change further by exploring new avenues and soundscapes, and it's better for it. (Sony)