Cage The Elephant Album Review
Melophobia, the latest release from Cage The Elephant hit the streets more than a month ago and has created significant buzz ever since. After my initial listen, it was easy to see why. We were a little late getting our copy, but damn, this one was well worth the wait.
The term melophobia means fear of music, but there’s nothing to fear on this release. On this, their third album, Cage The Elephant continues to evolve as one of this country’s premier rock bands. Melophobia continues the band’s assault on the Alt-Rock music landscape that they began with 2011’s fantastic Thank You, Happy Birthday, which was RARA’s Farm’s 2011 Album of the Year. (See our 2011 Best Albums Link)
Is Melophobia as good as it’s predecessor? Probably not, but it’s still an excellent album and another nice step forward for these Kentucky-based Alt-rockers. In typical Cage The Elephant fashion, the music on the album is an eclectic mix. Part-punk, part-garage stomp, a bit folksy with classic rock influences, and truthfully, it’s a bit more polished and clean than their previous offerings – a sign of the band’s maturation perhaps?
“Come A Little Closer,” the first single from the album is a good barometer for what’s in store. It’s an excellent, well-polished track which nicely features lead singer Matt Shultz’s dynamic voice and is one of many diverse offerings. The album kicks off with a fantastic song, “Spider Head” where the lyrics immediately demand your attention: “I am the one you left for dead, say you want it too. You are the bullet in my head, and as you stand over my grave, tell me it’s okay.” The song itself is a hard-driven rocker with addictive guitar riffs from Brad Shultz and Lincoln Parrish as well as stirring vocals from Matt Shultz. It’s got a gritty edge that will make it a favorite of the band’s long-time fans.
Other highlights include the piano driven romp “Halo” and the horn-infused rocker “Hypocrite.” The Kills’ Alison Mosshart makes a guest appearance sharing lead vocals on “It’s Just Forever,” a raucous rocker. A bit on the lighter side, we hear “Telescope,” a captivating introspective look at life, and a fantastically produced track. It’s actually, dare I say, a beautiful song with poignant lyrics. Hardcore Cage fans probably won’t love it, but it’s a damn good song.
The only disappointment on the album was the overindulgent mess that is “Teeth.” At three minutes, it would be an annoyance on an otherwise excellent album. At 5 and a half minutes, it’s a disappointing interruption.
Fortunately, the album closes with another strong offering, “Cigarette Daydreams.” The excellent song quickly washes away the bad taste of “Teeth.” It’s a tender ballad with fantastic lyrics and offers a great culmination to one of the year’s best albums.
RARA’s Farm Rating: 8/10