On their fourth album, Kentucky’s oft-critically scorned Cage the Elephant try to push beyond the gains of 2013’s Melophobia – which attempted to shed obvious influences such as Pixies – with mixed results. Tell Me I’m Pretty is produced by the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, and you can tell by the vanilla-psych filter that dissipates some of Cage’s usual puppyish energy. And there are still a few too many touchstones: opener Cry Baby tries to out-pronk Tame Impala, Trouble is a dead ringer for 1990s Frank Black, and closer Portuguese Knife Fight rearranges the building blocks of the Stooges. All the songs are good, mind: well structured, varied, winning. It’s just that as always, you can’t imagine them ever being anyone’s favourite band.
Emily is a subeditor for the Observer and writes about music. Twitter: @EmilyRoseMackay