When Cage the Elephant blazed from Kentucky in 2008, a trail of broken noses and busted amplifiers in their wake, the Schulz brothers’ live-wire quartet seemed likely to burn brightly but briefly. However, eight years, a US No 2 album (2011’s Thank You, Happy Birthday) and a Grammy nomination (for 2013’s Melophobia) later, their fourth album finds the Black Keys man Dan Auerbach taming them into a hard-punching, well-oiled rocking machine. The producer’s trademarks – slightly psychedelic 60s garage rock given a postmodern sound – are all over Tell Me I’m Pretty, but the band never abandon their own singular, brattish energy. There are Stonesy and Kinksy riffs and classic themes about worried parents, ruckuses, self-doubt and at least one visit to the doctor “’cause I don’t feel right”. The band are operating in an ever more overcrowded field, but their songwriting has never been sharper, and the likes of Too Late to Say Goodbye and killer ballad Trouble mean they turn up at the party with lots of catchy tunes and joie de vivre.
Cage the Elephant: Tell Me I'm Pretty review – hard-punching, well-oiled rock
Dave Simpson is a Guardian music critic and author