In November of 2009, a New York friend was in town with his girl. As one of my major goal’s in life is to have denizens of other cities repent of their evil ways and admit Philly’s superiority, I leafed through the listings, desperate to find that ONE PERFECT SHOW that would blow his Five Boroughed mind. And I came up empty.
But I had heard some vague buzz about Cheers Elephant, and set out to hear them at Johnny Brenda’s, sound unheard. Long story short: his (cutely dressed) girlfriend worried that she wasn’t flanneled up enough “for Williamsburg” (ouch) but then Cheers Elephant took the stage. Their heavily early-mid Kinks sound ripped through us. And I couldn’t scramble home fast enough to grab a copy of their self-titled debut.
I loved it. And then forgot about it. Somehow it never got added to my iTunes. So it was a real pleasure to find it lurking in a random folder a few months ago. Even more of a pleasure? Finding how much they’ve improved with their sophomore album, Man Is Nature, which was released on January 8th. The Kinks influence is still there, but much less pronounced. If The Kinks were known for zigging and zagging with their sound, Cheers Elephant are staying true to their spirit by moving away from their sound. More lush. More guitar jams. Further refinement of their superb songwriting. And like any good Philadelphian, they love them some bikes.