Kentucky’s Cage The Elephant have become known globally for their quirky and unique lyrics and sound within the world of indie rock. Now with ‘Social Cues’, their fifth studio album, there’s no doubt that Cage The Elephant are global superstars.
The fast punky jam ‘Broken Boy’ kicks things off with Jared Champion‘s fast drum work and distorted electrical vocals from frontman Matt Shultz. You can’t help but move to this track and its bouncy beat, though it certainly doesn’t give a true indication of what’s yet to follow.
This isn’t a dance album but more of a relaxing record to sway along to, and this is certainly evident in its the title-track, which lays down a funk bass line along with synth keys to create a melodic 80s lounge feel. The album continues in this tone with heavy use of a synth keyboard and distortion on the vocals throughout.
Beck leads a hand and fits perfectly on ‘Night Running’, with his vocals acting as a nice low pitch contrast to Matt Shultz‘s higher register. It’s a wonderful collaboration, although a pairing more reminiscent of Beck‘s 1994 single ‘Loser’ and Cage The Elephant‘s early hit ‘Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked’ may have notably fitted better due to their more obvious comparisons.
‘House Of Glass’ is one of the album’s more unique and exciting tracks, holding a punk chorus that cycles around and around with a chanting of “The house is glass / The house is glass” before breaking into a fast riff from Nick Bockrath that really starts to get the record moving again before abruptly ending and swiftly switching into the calm and melodic tones of ‘Love’s The Only Way’. It’s a beautifully different change in pace and tone, and a song that you can easily get lost in.
‘Social Cues’ shows off some of the best of Cage The Elephant when it hits the mark, though there are some moments where it suffers a little from the overuse of effects, and could’ve benefitted from some of the fat being cut and a song or two cut from the final track list.
Still, it’s a fun and bristling record, and one that continues to see Cage The Elephant only continue to climb upwards in quality.